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

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ISBN-13: 978-0262611961
ISBN-10: 0262611961
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A handful of figures contributed to the establishment of modern art in the U.S. museum community: Juliana Force (Whitney Museum of American Art), Chick Austen (Wadsworth Atheneum), Duncan Phillips (Phillips Collection), and, preeminently, Alfred H. Barr Jr. In a book that serves as both a biography of Barr and a textbook on the theoretical foundation of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, independent scholar Kantor focuses on the philosophical underpinnings of Barr's early life. He explores in great depth the philosophers, teachers, collectors, artists, and others who helped to form the mind of MoMA's founding director (Barr was a mere 27 at the time of his appointment). Barr's important and influential colleagues (Lincoln Kirstein, Agnes Mongan, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Philip Johnson, and others from both inside and outside of MoMA) are placed in historical and personal context. This excellent treatment explores Barr's contribution both to modern art in America and to many of the museum practices that are now taken for granted. For a more traditional biographical treatment, see Alice Goldfarb Marquis's Alfred H. Barr, Jr.: Missionary for the Modern (LJ 4/15/89). Highly recommended for all collections with an interest in 20th-century art. Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

An important contribution to the historiography of twentieth-century American art... intellectual and biographical history at its most rigorous.

(Daniel A. Siedell College Art Association Reviews)

Alfred Hamilton Barr Jr. remains a figure of fascination and contention.

(Michael Kimmelman The New York Review of Books)

It is to the intellectual history of modern art that [this book] makes an indispensible contribution.

(Hilton Kramer The New Criterion)

This truly significant book is at times as compulsively readable as a novel. Yet the spell that the author casts does not come at the expense of rigorous argument backed up by exhaustive primary documentation and pertinent secondary references.

(Helen Searing, Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art, Smith College)

A worthy contribution to the literature. Kantor's book is the most detailed and revelatory account of Barr's approach to modern art ever published.

(Francis M. Naumann, author of Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Making Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction)

At last, Alfred Barr's towering stature as scholarship art historian, evangelical educator, and visionary museum director has been given its due. Meticulously documented, Kantor's study recreates not only the formation, step-by-step, of Barr's unique genius but also the audacious intellectual milieu of the 1920s that nurtured it.

(Robert Rosenblum, Professor of Fine Arts, New York University)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (August 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262611961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262611961
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,214,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yani Gonzalez Torres on June 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is amust for anyone interested in Modern and Contemporary Art and the birth of modern museums. Contemporary museum architecture, in America, starts with MOMA.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BookLuver on December 29, 2014
Format: Paperback
Love this book - very interesting and informative. I was looking for a gift for a friend and thought I'd google my friend's name. This book popped up. After reading the details, I can see beyond a doubt that he is an ancestor of my friend and she is also an artist. I have no doubt this will be the perfect gift for her!
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