By Sybil Gordon Kantor
Turning out to be up with the 20th century, Alfred Barr (1902-1981), founding director of the Museum of contemporary paintings, harnessed the cataclysm that was once modernism. during this book—part highbrow biography, half institutional history—Sybil Gordon Kantor tells the tale of the increase of contemporary artwork in the United States and of the guy chargeable for its triumph. Following the trajectory of Barr's profession from the Twenties throughout the Forties, Kantor penetrates the myths, either confident and destructive, that encompass Barr and his achievements.
Barr fervently believed in a cultured in response to the intrinsic qualities of a piece of artwork and the fabrics and strategies all for its construction. Kantor exhibits how this formalist technique was once 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 multiplied 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 wide correspondence, Kantor additionally paints bright photographs of, between others, Jere Abbott, Katherine Dreier, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Philip Johnson, Lincoln Kirstein, Agnes Mongan, J. B. Neumann, and Paul Sachs.