NEW Course 8
American Museum, Global Modernism: The Museum of Modern Art in the World, 1929-1959
Dr Matthew Holman
Summer School – Online
Monday 14 – Friday 18 June 2021
With a modest collection of eight prints and one drawing, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) opened in 1929 and declared its ambition to provide New York with “the greatest museum of modern art in the world.” This course explores the colourful early history of this unique institution, and asks how we can better understand the social, cultural and political transformations of the United States through the art of MoMA’s collections, the lives of its curators, and its evolving place in the globalised art-world. Particular attention will be placed on situating MoMA in ever-changing international contexts, from its early strategy to stage blockbuster exhibitions of European modernism through its leading – and often controversial – role in the circulation of Abstract Expressionism overseas during the Cold War. Through a critical engagement with MoMA’s exhibition history and collecting practices, we shall investigate the ways in which realist photography became a means of expressing internationalist solidarity in the post-war period, how poetry might relate to curatorial practice, and how the American representation at biennales and perennial exhibitions changed as the United States sought a new position for itself in the political realignments of the twentieth century.