The Modern Eye


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Stieglitz, MoMA, and the Art of the Exhibition, 1925-1934

Kristina Wilson

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The Modern Eye explores the origins and development of early 20th-century modernism in America through the lens of the major exhibitions that introduced this art to the general public. Author Kristina Wilson shows how modern artists and curators sought to relate high art to mass culture in order to make it accessible to more people, and successfully popularized modern painting and design during the interwar years.


A major contribution to our understanding of the origins of modernism, this book  captures the vibrant diversity that the term “modern art” meant at this time. The chapters examine exhibitions held in New York in the 1920s and 1930s, including those organized by Alfred Stieglitz, the Little Review, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. In examining the marketing of modernism, Wilson reveals how these exhibitions attempted to stage an intersection between art and everyday life, and how they taught viewers to look at, and care about, modern art.


Kristina Wilson is Assistant Professor of Art History at Clark University. She is author of Livable Modernism: Interior Decorating and Design During the Great Depression.

“A fascinating and fresh study that explores a rich panorama of themes important to the modernist art of the period.”—Michael Leja, University of Pennsylvania

“Excellent. Original, authoritative, and a major contribution to an understanding of interwar American modernism.”—Alexander Nemerov, Yale University

"[A] thoroughly researched and well-argued overview of both conceptualization and presentation of contemporary art and industrial-consumer design astride the Depression. . . . The readable text is informed by a judicious selection of striking, chiefly black-and-white photographs that in themselves complete Wilson's evocation of that period of contradictions."—R. W. Liscombe, Choice

Winner of the 2011 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for distinguished scholarship in American art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum
ISBN: 9780300149166
Publication Date: October 6, 2009
256 pages, 8 x 10
98 b/w + 16 color illus.
Livable Modernism

Interior Decorating and Design During the Great Depression

Kristina Wilson

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Designing Tomorrow

America's World's Fairs of the 1930s

Edited by Robert W.

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Art for Every Home

Associated American Artists, 1934–2000

Edited by Elizabeth G.

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