By Sybil Gordon Kantor
Growing to be up with the 20 th century, Alfred Barr (1902-1981), founding director of the Museum of recent artwork, harnessed the cataclysm that used to be modernism. during this book—part highbrow biography, half institutional history—Sybil Gordon Kantor tells the tale of the increase of recent artwork in the USA and of the guy liable for its triumph. Following the trajectory of Barr's profession from the Nineteen Twenties in the course of the Nineteen Forties, Kantor penetrates the myths, either confident and adverse, that encompass Barr and his achievements.
Barr fervently believed in a cultured in keeping with the intrinsic characteristics of a piece of artwork and the fabrics and strategies all for its production. Kantor exhibits how this formalist process used to be expressed within the organizational constitution of the multidepartmental museum itself, whose collections, exhibitions, and guides all expressed Barr's imaginative and prescient. while, she exhibits how Barr's skill to reconcile classical objectivity and mythic irrationality allowed him to understand modernism as an open-ended phenomenon that elevated past purist summary modernism to incorporate surrealist, nationalist, realist, and expressionist art.
Drawing on interviews with Barr's contemporaries in addition to on Barr's vast correspondence, Kantor additionally paints shiny pictures of, between others, Jere Abbott, Katherine Dreier, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Philip Johnson, Lincoln Kirstein, Agnes Mongan, J. B. Neumann, and Paul Sachs.