William Seitz, who in 1955 became the first person to get a PhD in modern art from Princeton University, also wrote the earliest major text on Abstract Expressionism. While he is most known for the exhibitions The Art of Assemblage and The Responsive Eye, during his tenure as a curator at MoMA in the 1960s he continued to champion Abstract Expressionist artists, organizing significant solo shows on Mark Tobey, Arshile Gorky, and Hans Hofmann. During this time, he also curated a major show exploring Claude Monet’s late work and its effect on the New York School. Featuring correspondence among Seitz, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., and the Princeton graduate committee regarding the validity of Abstract Expressionism as a dissertation topic, along with installation photographs, correspondence, and other material from the MoMA Archives, this exhibition sheds new light on one of MoMA’s leading curatorial voices of the 1960s.
Organized by Michelle Harvey, Associate Archivist, Museum Archives.