Los Angeles

View of “The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America,” UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2006. From left: Jacques Villon, In Memoriam, 1919; Juan Gris, Journal et compotier (Newspaper and Fruit Dish), 1916; Constantin Brancusi, Little French Girl (The First Step III), ca. 1914–18; Morton Livingston Schamberg, Painting (formerly Machine), 1916; Joseph Stella, Brooklyn Bridge, 1918–20; Francis Picabia, Prostitution universelle (Universal Prostitution), 1916–17; Man Ray, Lampshade, 1921; Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Jeune femme (Young Woman), 1919; Heinrich Campendonk, Die rote Katze (The Red Cat), 1926. Photo: Joshua White.

View of “The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America,” UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2006. From left: Jacques Villon, In Memoriam, 1919; Juan Gris, Journal et compotier (Newspaper and Fruit Dish), 1916; Constantin Brancusi, Little French Girl (The First Step III), ca. 1914–18; Morton Livingston Schamberg, Painting (formerly Machine), 1916; Joseph Stella, Brooklyn Bridge, 1918–20; Francis Picabia, Prostitution universelle (Universal Prostitution), 1916–17; Man Ray, Lampshade, 1921; Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Jeune femme (Young Woman), 1919; Heinrich Campendonk, Die rote Katze (The Red Cat), 1926. Photo: Joshua White.

“The Société Anonyme”

Hammer Museum

WHAT SHAPE might the narrative of modernism in the visual arts have assumed in the absence of New York’s Museum of Modern Art? Would we envision the history and evolution of modern art differently if we had not been guided for decades by the famous flowchart that MoMA director Alfred H. Barr Jr. prepared to explain the organization of his 1936 exhibition “Cubism and Abstract Art”? Here, for the first time, Barr crystallized MoMA’s paradigmatic vision of modernism as a progressive, formalist development across the European avant-gardes that could be traced along a dense network of intersecting pathways beginning with various forms of Post-Impressionism in the 1890s and culminating by the mid-1930s in “geometrical” and “nongeometrical” abstract art. So convincing was the apparent logic of this model that for many years it effectively obliterated all other versions of how the history of modern

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