Public Program

Book Talk: “Modern in the Making” with Sandra Zalman

Book Talk: “Modern in the Making” with Sandra Zalman

On the occasion of the release of Modern in the Making: MoMA and the Modern Experiment, 1929-1949, book editor Sandra Zalman delivers a talk about this new publication. Zalman presents a brief overview of the early years of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and discusses the ways the museum acted as a laboratory to set an ambitious agenda for the exhibition of a multidisciplinary idea of modern art. She is joined by the Menil’s Assistant Curator of Modern Art Natalie Dupêcher for a conversation that considers some of the intersections between MoMA’s early years and the founding ideals of the Menil Collection, tracing similarities in curatorial approaches and strategies of democratizing the museum.

This program takes place online. We encourage you to RSVP below to receive an email reminder on the day of the program with a link to tune in. The live event also streams directly on this page and on the Menil’s YouTube channel. Submit your questions for the speakers in advance and during the program to programs@menil.org.

About the book:

Between its founding in 1929 and its 20th anniversary in 1949, MoMA created the first museum departments of architecture and design, film, and photography in the country, marshaled modern art as a political tool, and brought consumer culture into a versatile yet institutional context. Encompassing 14 essays that investigate the diversity of modern art, this volume demonstrates how MoMA’s programming shaped a version of modern art that was not elitist but fundamentally intertwined with all levels of cultural production.

Copies of the book are available at the Menil Bookstore. For hours and more information on how to place an order for curbside pickup or direct mail order, click here or call 713-535-3180.

About the speakers:

Sandra Zalman is Associate Professor and Program Director of Art History at the University of Houston, where she teaches classes on modern and contemporary art, museums, and curatorial issues. Her first book, Consuming Surrealism in American Culture: Dissident Modernism, won the 2016 SECAC Award for Excellence in Research and Publication and was supported by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Association of University Women. Zalman’s research has appeared as feature articles in Grey Room, Art Journal, Histoire de l’Art, Woman’s Art Journal, Tate Research Publications, the Journal of Art Historiography, and the Journal of Surrealism in the Americas. She holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Southern California and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Natalie Dupêcher is the Assistant Curator of Modern Art at the Menil Collection, where she most recently curated Photography and the Surreal Imagination, which closes on November 29, 2020. Forthcoming projects include a new display of the permanent collection Surrealism galleries and a presentation of Mark Rothko’s work to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Rothko Chapel in early 2021. She is completing her doctoral studies at Princeton University and specializes in Surrealism and the historical avant-garde.