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Lady in the DarkIris Barry and the Art of Film$
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Robert Sitton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165785

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165785.001.0001

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The Slow Martyrdom of Alfred Barr

The Slow Martyrdom of Alfred Barr

(p.233) 22 The Slow Martyrdom of Alfred Barr
Lady in the Dark

Robert Sitton

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the professional difficulties of Museum of Modern Art director Alfred Barr, which began as early as 1937. Barr's position was never totally secure and authorities such as the Museum's president Conger Goodyear and its founder Abby Aldrich Rockefeller were less than totally supportive. By 1940 shifts in the power dynamics at the Museum made it easier for other staff members, including Executive Director Dick Abbott, to increase their influence over the day-to-day operations of the Museum thereby undermining Barr's authority over the institution he had created. Throughout 1943 Barr's role at the Museum remained ambiguous. He composed his own resignation letter and read it to the staff on October 27. The Museum of Modern Art remained without a true director until October 1949, when Rene d'Harnoncourt was appointed.

Keywords:   Alfred Barr, Museum of Modern Art, resignation, Dick Abbott, Rene d'Harnoncourt

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