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Rebels on Eighth Street: Juliana Force and The Whitney Museum of American Art

Rebels on Eighth Street: Juliana Force and The Whitney Museum of American Art

by Avis Berman

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Force founded Manhattan's Whitney Museum of American Art, and this astute portrait by art critic Berman is the first biography of a pivotal, if now obscure, art world figure. Born to a poor tradesman in 1876, Force had to make her own way, as did Whitney, a sculptor struggling against social restrictions to pursue her work. Force, hired as Whitney's secretary and manager shortly before WW I, became a legend for her aid to artists via Whitney funds and as principal author of the policies of the Whitney Museum, founded in 1931. The Whitney--devoted to modern American art, then a radical notion--survived a perilous youth during the Depression, competition from the Museum of Modern Art and takeover attempts by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Force died in 1948, with the Whitney's future still uncertain. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Though the Whitney Museum of American Art is often in the news and the names of its movers and shakers are well known, this book may be the only formal memorial to the woman who was its co-founder and first director: a vital ``Force'' in the development of contemporary American art as a valid and valuable entity. Her efforts and eventual success in providing support and exposure for living American artists make her influential in the art world to this day. Detailing a background quite at variance with the one created by this fascinating figure, the author combines substance with style to bring to life a cast of characters--rich, powerful, struggling, creative--headed by a singularly vital personality. Highly recommended.--Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum Lib., New York

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