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Grant number like: HB-262738-19

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HB-262738-19

Sandra Zalman
University of Houston System (Houston, TX 77204-0001)
Monuments to Modernism: Museums of Modern Art and the Contest for Cultural Space

Preparation for publication of a book about the relationship between four museums in New York City—the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Gallery of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art—that shaped debates about modernism from 1959 to 1966.

In 1961, Art in America's special issue posed the question "What Should a Museum Be?" As arts administrators grappled with the role of the museum in contemporary life, they increasingly turned to design to make the case that museums were no longer repositories of venerated objects, but sites of cultural discourse. My book project analyzes how four prominent museums in New York City negotiated this increasingly politicized terrain, as they marshaled innovative architecture to forge competing versions of modern art for public consumption between 1959 and 1966. With chapters focusing on the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Gallery of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, I investigate how museums expanded their visibility in the urban fabric while historicizing recent art – not as esoteric or obscure, but as a tool that had the potential to advance cultural agendas amidst the socio-political turmoil of the 1950 and 60s.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Architecture; Art History and Criticism; Cultural History

Program:
Awards for Faculty

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2019 – 6/30/2020