Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern at The Museum of Modern Art, through June 15, 2019
“The Museum of Modern Art presents Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern, an exhibition exploring Lincoln Kirstein’s sweeping contributions to American cultural life in the 1930s and ’40s. Best known for cofounding New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet with George Balanchine, Kirstein (1907–1996), a polymathic writer, curator, editor, impresario, tastemaker, and patron, was also a key figure in MoMA’s early history. With his prescient belief in the role of dance within the museum, his championing of figuration in the face of prevailing abstraction, and his position at the center of a New York network of queer artists, intimates, and collaborators, the impact of this extraordinary individual remains profoundly resonant today. Seen through the lens of Kirstein, the works in the exhibition reveal an alternative and expansive view of modern art.
Kirstein proclaimed, ‘I have a live eye,’ and the exhibition illuminates the influence of his vision, tastes, and efforts on the Museum’s collecting, exhibition, and publication history. Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern features nearly 300 works from the Museum’s collection—including set and costume designs for the ballet by Paul Cadmus and Jared French, photographs by Walker Evans and George Platt Lynes, realist and magic realist paintings by Honoré Sharrer and Pavel Tchelitchew, sculptures by Elie Nadelman and Gaston Lachaise, and the Latin American art that Kirstein acquired for the Museum by artists such as Antonio Berni and Raquel Forner—alongside material drawn from the Museum Archives.” — MoMA
Pavel Tchelitchew (American, born Russia, 1898–1957). Study for a backdrop for the ballet Apollon Musagète. 1942. Gouache, ink, and pencil on paper, 20 x 28 ½ in. (50.8 x 72.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Lincoln Kirstein
Pavel Tchelitchew (American, born Russia, 1898–1957). Nervous System. Designs for the ballet The Cave of Sleep. 1941. Gouache and watercolor on paper, 13 1/4 × 11 in. (33.7 × 27.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist
Gaston Lachaise (American, born France. 1882–1935). Woman Walking. 1922. Bronze, 18 1/2 × 10 3/4 × 7″ (47 × 27.3 × 17.7 cm) including base. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1939. Courtesy Lachaise Foundation