GUIDE TO MODERN ARCHITECTURE:
John McAndrew: GUIDE TO MODERN ARCHITECTURE - NORTHEAST STATES. New York: Museum of Modern Art, August 1940. First edition [10,000 copies]. Octavo. Thick printed wrappers. Metal parallel ring binding. 126 pp. Well illustrated with photographs, renderings and plans. Indices. Wrappers lightly worn. Former owners library ink stamp to front free endpaper. A very good copy.
5.5 x 8 softcover, metal-ring bound guide book with 126 pages where McAndrew and his staff identified and cataloged 297 examples of Modern Architecture [buildings, airports, banks, bridges, museums, garages, factories, etc.] in Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Terence Riley noted that the early tastemakers at MoMA understood their job was to separate "the wheat from the chaff." Few people rose to that challenge with more vigor than the young Philip Johnson, the first head of the Department of Architecture and Design, circa 1932.
After Johnson's 1928 visit to the Bauhaus Dessau his role as a proselytizer for the new architecture was set. "We were proud to be avant-gardists; we wore our enthusiasm as a badge of honor that distinguished us as culturally superior to those around us." Johnson said.
From this plateau of cultural superiority, Johnson and his MoMA collaborators Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and Henry-Russell Hitchcock labeled this architecture "The International Style" in the MODERN ARCHITECTURE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION catalog [New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1932].
But by 1940, Johnson had moved on to learn a vocation at the Harvard Graduate School of Design under Gropius and Breuer. In his absence, the Mandarins of MoMA couldn't always control the debate, but they kept a stranglehold on the terminology.
After Johnson's departure, John McAndrew headed the Department of Architecture. and published the GUIDE TO MODERN ARCHITECTURE - NORTHEAST STATES in August 1940. For a book published in an edition of 10,000 copies, it is surprisingly uncommon.
As an historical document, it is invaluable. The GUIDE can be used to settle any argument about the Who, What, Where, When and Why of pre-war Modernism in the Northeast States. This 126-page book overflows with information.
As a Guidebook however, it has one serious flaw. McAndrew freely admits the word Modern is controversial in the cultural dialogue of 1940. He draws an irreconcilable distinction between Modern and the "Modernistic." That pejorative separation is historically interesting, but rather problematic. If you attempt to use his guide on your travels through Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Manhattan, etc., you will certainly miss architectural highlights deemed unworthy of further contemplation in the heady days of 1940.
In his foreword to the 60th Anniversary Edition of MACHINE ART [New York: Abrams/Museum of Modern Art, 1994], Philip Johnson wrote, "The battle of modern architecture has long been won. Twenty years ago the Museum [of Modern Art] was in the thick of the fight, but now our exhibitions and catalogues take part in the unending campaign described by Alfred Barr as "simply the continuous, conscientious, resolute distinction of quality from mediocrity -- the discovery and proclamation of excellence."
From the library of Franziska Porges Hosken [1919 - 2006] with her ownership stamp.
Hosken was an architect and urban planner, journalist, and photographer. She was the first woman to earn a Masters degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She opened a furniture design studio with her husband and later became a consultant, organizer and author. She was the Founder of Womens International Network (WIN) and helped organize the Human Rights Health Action Network.
Spreads from this volume can be viewed here.
out of stock