The Museum and the War Effort: Artistic Freedom and Reporting for “The Cause”

Nov 26, 2008–Feb 11, 2009

MoMA

James Thrall Soby and a serviceman at the Museum’s Servicemen’s Party, fall 1943. James Thrall Soby papers. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.
  • Education Center, Mezzanine Mezzanine

In the years leading up to and during World War II, The Museum of Modern Art—then in its early days—organized a number of shows intended to elicit public support of the war and to solidify America’s image as a humanitarian society interested in spreading democracy and freedom. These compelling exhibitions included works by artists who were motivated by their wartime experiences, providing a glimpse into the war-torn lands of Europe and the East and the difficulties of military life as experienced from within, as well as works produced by artists involved in government-sponsored competitions and campaigns for the war effort in the United States. This comprehensive installation documents MoMA’s wartime exhibition programming through correspondence, press clippings, and photographs from the Museum Archives.

Organized by Miriam Gianni, Records Manager, and MacKenzie Bennett, Assistant Archivist.

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