Traveler’s Tales: Alfred Barr, Soviet Union and International Modernism in the Post-War Period.
Throughout his tenure as MoMA’s chief curator Alfred Barr advocated for modernism as a fundamentally international phenomenon, through exhibitions at MoMA, regular travels and a transnational professional network. Barr’s mission was to defend freedom of artistic expression from “philistines with political power.” Having witnessed the persecution of modernist art in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia in the 1930s, Barr carried on his mission in MacCarthy’s America. In the 1950s he renewed ties with the USSR and maneuvered diplomatically across the divide of the Iron Curtain, which he saw as but a temporary obstacle of ideological near-sightedness and rigidity on both sides.
Masha Chlenova (PhD, Columbia University) is Curator at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, where she is initiating a major research and exhibition project on Russian modernism and organizing a retrospective of Willem de Kooning. Her exhibition Russian Revolution: A Contested Legacy just opened at the International Print Center New York. She previously worked at MoMA, where she co-organized Inventing Abstraction, 1910- 1925. She has published widely on Russian avant-garde and modernism at large.
From the conference Multiple Modernisms. A Symposium on Globalism in Postwar Art.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art 2017