My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator

My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator

Katharine Kuh

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 1611455065

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

One of America’s leading curators, “a woman of resilience and vision, a writer of clarity and ardor” (Chicago Tribune), takes you on a personal tour of the world of modern art. In the Depression-era climate of the 1930s, Katharine Kuh defied the odds and opened a gallery in Chicago, where she exhibited such relatively unknown artists as Fernand Léger, Paul Klee, Joan Miró, Ansel Adams, Marc Chagall, and Alexander Calder. Her extraordinary story reveals how and why America became a major force in the world of contemporary art.

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Institute of Chicago. © 2005 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Front facade, The Art Institute of Chicago, c. 1950. Art Institute of Chicago Archives. Reproduction, The Art Institute of Chicago. Walter and Louise Arensberg with Marcel Duchamp, August 17, 1936. Photograph by Beatrice Wood. Gelatin silver print. Philadelphia Museum of Art. 13–1972.9(163). Gift of Jacqueline, Paul, and Peter Matisse in memory of their mother, Alexina Duchamp. Sun room in Walter and Louise

Rohe, Waltraut, 80–81 van Doesburg, Theo and Nelli, 69–70 van Gogh, Theo, 86–87, 91 van Gogh, Vincent, 37, 52–53, 90–94, 90 letters, 92 van Gogh, Vincent Willem, xv, 85–94, 90 home in Laren, 89, 90 van Gogh-Bonger, Johanna, 87 Venice Biennale (1956), xxiii–xiv, 137–39, 233, 234 Weber, Nicholas Fox, 267 Weston, Edward, 12 Whitney Museum of American Art, 149, 232, 274, 278, 284, 285–86 Wiegand, Charmion von, 217, 224 Willard, Marian, 215, 221, 226 Wisdom, 48, 49 Women’s Garment

financing railroad and municipal bonds, wanted immediate recognition during his lifetime. Social approval, power, and entry into an otherwise closed world drove him. His insatiable desire for recognition and constant admiration never ceased to goad him. But it was not all one-sided, and we in the museum world were equally guilty. Yet for us it was, in a way, obligatory. Our American form of government forces museum personnel to court possible donors with endless blandishments and thus to lend

concentration and dream, of strong emotional reaction and, not least, of flexibility. As different contemporary art movements proliferate, evaluating them demands more than an understanding of the latest current events. We need what endures from the past to understand discoveries of the present, some of them mind-boggling, some déjà vu. To sort them out cogently demands perspective. Vincent van Gogh, The Bedroom, 1889. Van Gogh’s moving depiction of his surroundings at Arles made an equally

designated, though we had a suggestion of our own. Both of us felt that Isamu Noguchi was the right artist to direct the project. Noguchi, of course, had been Brancusi’s assistant thirty years before, and he also happened to be in Paris at the same time, working on the garden he had designed for UNESCO. Furthermore, Noguchi was enthusiastic about being commissioned to oversee the erection of Endless Column. But Brancusi was not. When we mentioned Noguchi’s name, Brancusi did not answer. He merely

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