New York University Professor Bruce Altshuler, director of NYU’s Program in Museum Studies, has won the Banister Fletcher Award for the best new book on art or architecture for Salon to Biennial: Exhibitions that Made Art History, Volume 1 (1863-1959) (Phaidon, 2008). The prize, now in its 56th year, is given by the London-based Authors’ Club.
From Fauvism to Surrealism to Cubism to Abstract Expressionism, Salon to Biennial chronicles modern art by documenting the most important international exhibitions from 1863 to 1959. The book includes never-before published documentary material, such as installation images, reviews, floor plans, and catalog excerpts. Among the exhibitions the book explores are “Salon des Refusés” (1863), “Salon de la Section d’Or” (1912), and the Nazi “Degenerate Art” exhibition (1937), which sought to inflame public opinion against modern art.
“One of the most interesting books of the season takes a nothing-but-the-facts bead on a subject of increasing art historical study: the exhibitions that have introduced most modern art to the public,” wrote the New York Times, which listed the work as one of the most notable art volumes published last year.
This year’s judges for the award were: Giles Waterfield, a curator and writer; Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery; and Steven Parissien, director of the Compton Verney art gallery. Their decision was unanimous.
“No book like this has been attempted before and this exhaustively-researched project has been carried out with exemplary flair and intelligence,” Waterfield observed. “It will make a permanent contribution to the field of museum and exhibition history.”
Altshuler, has also authored The Avant-Garde in Exhibition: New Art in the 20th Century and Isamu Noguchi.
New York University’s Program in Museum Studies has offered an innovative course of study in the contemporary theory and practice of museum work for more than 25 years. Emphasizing both the interdisciplinary study of museums and courses of practical training, the program has prepared more than 300 graduates for positions of increasing responsibility in museums throughout the world. In addition to obtaining a broad foundation in the history and theory of museums, the creation and maintenance of exhibitions and collections, and museum management, its students pursue personal programs of study supporting individual academic and career objectives.