Arthur Drexler (1921-1987) served as the curator and director of the
Architecture and Design Department at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
from 1951 until 1986-the longest curatorship in the museum's history.
Over four decades he conceived and oversaw trailblazing exhibitions that
not only reflected but also anticipated major stylistic developments.
Although several books cover the roles of MoMA's founding director,
Alfred Barr, and the department's first curator, Philip Johnson, this is
the only in-depth study of Drexler, who gave the department its overall
shape and direction.
During Drexler's tenure, MoMA played a
pivotal role in examining the work and confirming the reputations of
twentieth-century architects, among them Frank Lloyd Wright, Le
Corbusier, Richard Neutra, Marcel Breuer, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
Exploring unexpected subjects-from the design of automobiles and
industrial objects to a reconstruction of a Japanese house and
garden-Drexler's boundary-pushing shows promoted new ideas about
architecture and design as modern arts in contemporary society. The
department's public and educational programs projected a culture of
popular accessibility, offsettingMoMA's reputation as an elitist
Drawing on rigorous archival research as well as
author Thomas S. Hines's firsthand experience working with Drexler,
Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art analyses how MoMA
became a touchstone for the practice and study of midcentury