Matthew Silva: Modern Ruin: A World's Fair Pavilion

Flushing Meadows, Corona Park in Queens, New York.

Flushing Meadows, Corona Park in Queens, New York. photo / provided

Matthew Silva is a teacher, filmmaker, and cofounder of People For the Pavilion, an organization dedicated to preserving the New York State Pavilion. Since 2012, Silva has worked by way of art and social media to raise interest and change public perception for what is possible with the pavilion. With support from a strong social media community and a coalition of various New York based civic, advocacy, and cultural institutions, he produced the 2015 documentary film Modern Ruin: A World's Fair Pavilion which chronicles the history of Philip Johnson's pavilion from the fair, through ruin, to present day advocacy.


The New York State Pavilion, once the shining symbol of the 1964–65 New York World's Fair, now sits as a haunting reminder of what became of the age of optimism that was the 1960s. This film tells the story of Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion during the glory days of the fair and chronicles its demise over the past 50 years. The film details its post-fair use as a 60s concert venue and 70s roller rink, including the years of neglect and the recent growing advocacy efforts to save and repurpose the structure.

Sponsored by the Clarence S. Stein Institute for Urban and Landscape Studies
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