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Capital Culture: J. Carter Brown, the National Gallery of Art, and the Reinvention of the Museum Experience (Paperback)
  • Capital Culture: J. Carter Brown, the National Gallery of Art, and the Reinvention of the Museum Experience (Paperback)
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Capital Culture: J. Carter Brown, the National Gallery of Art, and the Reinvention of the Museum Experience (Paperback)

(author)
£19.00
Paperback 616 Pages / Published: 29/11/2016
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American art museums flourished in the late twentieth century, and the impresario leading much of this growth was J. Carter Brown, director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, from 1969 to 1992. Along with S. Dillon Ripley, who served as Smithsonian secretary for much of this time, Brown reinvented the museum experience in ways that had important consequences for the cultural life of Washington and its visitors as well as for American museums in general. In Capital Culture, distinguished historian Neil Harris provides a wide-ranging look at Brown's achievement and the growth of museum culture during this crucial period. Harris combines his in-depth knowledge of American history and culture with extensive archival research, and he has interviewed dozens of key players to reveal how Brown's showmanship transformed the National Gallery. At the time of the Cold War, Washington itself was growing into a global destination, with Brown as its devoted booster. Harris describes Brown's major role in the birth of blockbuster exhibitions, such as the King Tut show of the late 1970s and the National Gallery's immensely successful Treasure Houses of Britain, which helped inspire similarly popular exhibitions around the country. He recounts Brown's role in creating the award-winning East Building by architect I. M. Pei and the subsequent renovation of the West building. Harris also explores the politics of exhibition planning, describing Brown's courtship of corporate leaders, politicians, and international dignitaries. In this monumental book Harris brings to life this dynamic era and exposes the creation of Brown's impressive but costly legacy, one that changed the face of American museums forever.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226434469
Number of pages: 616
Weight: 862 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 38 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
With authority and insight supported by excellent research, Neil Harris narrates the politics and personalities, rivalries and backroom deals, glittering blockbusters and boosterism behind the transformation of the National Gallery from provincial latecomer to major force on the museum scene. A significant contribution to the history of the American museum by one of our leading historians.
--Andrew McClellan, author of The Art Museum from Boullee to Bilbao"
J. Carter Brown was one of the most important and charismatic museum directors of the last fifty years. He almost single-handedly invented the idea that the experience of the museum could be as compelling as any work of art in the museum. In his quest to create great exhibitions and acquire singularly important works of art, he transformed the National Gallery of Art into one of America's finest museums, and Neil Harris elegantly traces how he did this. Meticulously researched and thoughtfully written, Capital Culture places Brown in his historical context and reveals the social, political, and economic issues he contended with during his long tenure at the National Gallery. Harris also brings to life the way Brown used his rivalry with Tom Hoving and later Philippe de Montebello at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to animate the National Gallery and make it the cultural center of Washington, and for a time, the nation. --Glenn Lowry, director, Museum of Modern Art, New York"
With authority and insight supported by excellent research, Neil Harris narrates the politics and personalities, rivalries and backroom deals, glittering blockbusters and boosterism behind the transformation of the National Gallery from provincial latecomer to major force on the museum scene. A significant contribution to the history of the American museum by one of our leading historians.
--Andrew McClellan, author of The Art Museum from Boullee to Bilbao"
"J. Carter Brown was one of the most important and charismatic museum directors of the last fifty years. He almost single-handedly invented the idea that the experience of the museum could be as compelling as any work of art in the museum. In his quest to create great exhibitions and acquire singularly important works of art, he transformed the National Gallery of Art into one of America's finest museums, and Neil Harris elegantly traces how he did this. Meticulously researched and thoughtfully written, Capital Culture places Brown in his historical context and reveals the social, political, and economic issues he contended with during his long tenure at the National Gallery. Harris also brings to life the way Brown used his rivalry with Tom Hoving and later Philippe de Montebello at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to animate the National Gallery and make it the cultural center of Washington, and for a time, the nation."--Glenn Lowry, director, Museum of Modern Art, New York
"With authority and insight supported by excellent research, Neil Harris narrates the politics and personalities, rivalries and backroom deals, glittering blockbusters and boosterism behind the transformation of the National Gallery from provincial latecomer to major force on the museum scene. A significant contribution to the history of the American museum by one of our leading historians."
--Andrew McClellan, author of The Art Museum from Boullee to Bilbao

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