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Douglas MacAgy and the Foundations of Modern Art Curatorship

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

Canadian born, MacAgy was international in his influence. From a privileged student at the Barnes Foundation through innovative years at the San Francisco Museum of Art, as Director at the California School of Fine Arts from 1945-50, when he was the catalyst for the advent of American abstraction, as curator at MOMA, as the spirit behind the modern art movement in Dallas, as the introducer and interpreter of European and Russian art to America, as the head of the National Endowment for the Arts, and as the installer of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, MacAgy taught the public and helped to shape our culture. MacAgy changed museums from mausoleums to happenings. He was on the cutting edge of modern art movements from American abstract expressionism to conceptualism and fought as an independent educator against the forces using art for political ends. His friends were the great artists of his day, including those as diverse as Clyfford Still and Marcel Duchamp. Only his first wife Jermayne rivaled him as an installer of art. "Douglas MacAgy will be remembered as someone bigger than the institution he so often invigorated. For he was one of those whose sensibilities were more for the artist than for the director."-R. Grove, 1973. "MacAgy has a place in history,"- George Rickey. "I consider him to be one of the great moving influences in art during the 20th century."- Elizabeth Blake, 1989.