Get Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and the Intellectual Origins of the PDF

By Sybil Gordon Kantor

ISBN-10: 0262112582

ISBN-13: 9780262112581

Transforming into 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 US and of the guy chargeable for its triumph. Following the trajectory of Barr's profession from the Nineteen Twenties during the Forties, Kantor penetrates the myths, either confident and damaging, that encompass Barr and his achievements.

Barr fervently believed in a classy in accordance with the intrinsic characteristics of a piece of paintings and the fabrics and strategies occupied with its construction. 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. even as, she indicates how Barr's skill to reconcile classical objectivity and mythic irrationality allowed him to understand modernism as an open-ended phenomenon that accelerated 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 huge correspondence, Kantor additionally paints vibrant pics of, between others, Jere Abbott, Katherine Dreier, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Philip Johnson, Lincoln Kirstein, Agnes Mongan, J. B. Neumann, and Paul Sachs.

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Extra resources for Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and the Intellectual Origins of the Museum of Modern Art

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Barr explained away his “coldness” when he wrote to Gauss: You called me impersonal and artistic—lost in the extreme—I wonder if you believe the former quality truly characteristic. As for the latter I must be very careful—true artistry is that which is self-concealed. But impersonal? It is a position not a point of view, a frame of mind, a coat of mail which I have cultivated for years and now that it is become a habit I am “hoist by my own petard” in the most tragic manner. . 34 Barr’s letters to Gauss, in a correspondence that bespeaks the emerging maturation of a young man in his twenties, are the most revealing personal source of his contradictory, complex character—unyielding in the face of opposition to his programs and, at the same time, retiring and modest.

KNOWING ALFRED BARR 2. Alfred H. , and Alfred H. , on the porch of the house in Greensboro, Vermont (no date). vation of the philistines. . ”7 His lifelong friend and colleague, the architect Philip Johnson, remarked that Barr had “[a] passion . . very narrow, very clear in his own mind. ”8 Alice Marquis made good the title of her unauthorized biography9 Alfred H. : Missionary for the Modern. Barr, she judged, “prodded and shamed and proselytized his countrymen into embracing his vision of modern art.

Correspondence in the Barr Archives supports this, as does the testimony of Philip Johnson, who recalled that though Barr would be distraught when Margaret Barr wasn’t around, he would “cover it KNOWING ALFRED BARR 3. Alfred Barr, Philip Johnson, and Margaret Barr, Cortona, Italy, 1932. The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Margaret Scolari Barr papers. ” Johnson corroborated that “Barr was tearjerkingly, romantically attached to Marga and to art. His rationality gave way to: ‘God, how I love this woman’”(fig.

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Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and the Intellectual Origins of the Museum of Modern Art by Sybil Gordon Kantor


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