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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 Museum Enlists

The Museum Enlists

(p.289) 27 The Museum Enlists
Lady in the Dark

Robert Sitton

Columbia University Press

This chapter describes how World War II transformed the culture of the Museum of Modern Art and its Film Library. Programs and services of the Museum were placed on a wartime footing, from the film series, Britain at War, to the Edward Steichen photo exhibit, “The Road to Victory,” and the poster exhibition the Museum organized for the Army Air Corps. Iris Barry took the opportunity of this shift in the Film Library's role to inform the Museum's members that the Film Library was thoroughly pro-American. In the June–July 1941 issue of the Museum's Bulletin she extended her campaign against the rumors that the Film Library was anti-American, an impression she attributed to the library's considerable holdings of foreign films. In the broad scope of its programs, from the retrospective of American films to the many programs of American films the library had exhibited and circulated, she declared, “the Film Library [has] affirmed its unwavering faith in the film as the liveliest as well as the most popular of the contemporary arts and one in which the United States is supreme.”

Keywords:   Film Library, World War II, Museum of Modern Art, nationalism, wartime

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