New York

“Art of the Forties”

The Museum of Modern Art

The “Art of the Forties” show discards the blockbuster mentality that informed museum exhibitions during the ’80s; instead of the usual display of artistic triumphs that characterize such exhibitions, this show borrows from the museum’s permanent collection and interweaves a broad cross section of cultural artworks and artifacts to document the socioeconomic, esthetic, and historical concerns of this war-torn decade. The result is like paging through an old art magazine in which the masters are presented next to artists who have subsequently been pressed to the margins of art history. Exhibiting the work of lesser-known artisans and designers along with masterworks recreates a more complete picture of an era.

Riva Castleman, the exhibition’s curator, has dovetailed a selection of some of the most significant works of art from that decade (by Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock,

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