In 1964, Huntington Hartford established the Gallery of Modern Art in Manhattan to directly compete (but nonetheless co-mingle) with the authority of the Museum of Modern Art. While Hartford attempted to disrupt what he saw as MoMA’s equation of modern art with abstraction, and instead insert his own, vernacular version, MoMA itself had difficulty negotiating the shifting terrain of modern art. Sandra Zalman’s article will explore the ways in which each institution accounted for its art and its audience, as both museums presented divergent perspectives of modern art for public consumption. By asking who determines the boundaries of modern art, Zalman’s project will analyze Hartford’s efforts to dispute the legacy of modernism at a moment when its very definition was under assault by contemporary art.
Sandra Zalman is an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston. Her research focuses on institutions that consciously work to present contemporary art to public audiences, from museums to department stores, movies, and magazines, and her courses include “Museums and Problems of Display” and “The Spectacle in Art and Visual Culture.” She recently published “‘The Fur-Lined Museum’: Surrealism and the Museum of Modern Art in New York” in Histoire de l’Art and “The Non-u-ment: Gordon Matta-Clark and the Contingency of Space” in Octopus: Journal of Visual Culture History and Theory. Her current book project reconsiders the consumption of Surrealism in the U.S. as both an avant-garde and commercial phenomenon over the course of the twentieth century.