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René d’Harnoncourt installing the exhibition “Arts of the South Seas.” Photographic Archive. From the Museum of Modern Art Archives

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Esopus 10 (Spring 2008)
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Modern Artifacts 4: Drawing Comparisons

Introduction by Michelle Elligott

“[My father] would sit at the desk in the living room in our apartment on the Upper West Side, doing drawings of each object in the show, thinking about how it fit in, where it would shine and make the most of itself…just shifting works of art in his mind and shifting them on paper.”—Anne d'Harnoncourt

The latest installment of an ongoing series presented in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art Archives features selections from the sketchbooks of former MoMA director René d’Harnoncourt, whose deep reverence for individual objects is clearly evident in a series of drawings related to the 1948 exhibition “Arts of the South Seas.”

Michelle Elligott is Chief Archivist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Elligott coedited Art in Our Time: A Chronicle of the Museum of Modern Art, cocurated MoMA’s “1969” exhibition, and has published and lectured widely.