Haidee Wasson provides a rich cultural history of cinema's transformation from a passing amusement to an enduring art form by mapping the creation of the Film Library of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, established in 1935. The first North American film archive and museum, the film library pioneered an expansive moving image network, comprising popular, abstract, animated, American, Canadian, and European films. More than a repository, MoMA circulated these films nationally and internationally, connecting the modern art museum to universities, libraries, women's clubs, unions, archives, and department stores. Under the aegis of the museum, cinema also changed. Like books, paintings, and photographs, films became discrete objects, integral to thinking about art, history, and the politics of modern life.
List of Illustrations
Chapter 1: Making Cinema a Modern Art
Chapter 2: Mannered Cinema/Mobile Theaters: Film Exhibition, 16mm, and the New Audience Ideal
Chapter 3: The Mass Museology of the Modern
Chapter 4: An Awkward and Dangerous Task: The Film Library Takes Shape
Chapter 5: Rearguard Exhibition: The Film Library’s Circulating Programs
Chapter 6: Enduring Legacies
Appendix: Film Programs of the Museum of Modern Art, 1934–1949
Haidee Wasson is Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at Concordia University, Montreal.
“Thoroughly researched and deftly written, this volume fills a void in the history of cinema and also expands and enriches the literature on museum studies.”—L. Armstrong, Central Washington University Choice: Current Reviews For Academic Libraries
"Impeccably researched, lucidly argued, Haidee Wasson's book reveals MoMA's significant role in transforming film culture during the interwar years. Producing the first systematic study of the museum's relationship to cinema, she not only contributes original work to the field, but signals new directions in film historiography. This is a full-scale exploration of the rise of film as art and a timely intervention in historical research."—Barbara Klinger, Indiana University
"No other publication has discussed the intellectual roots of a national film archive and its efforts to preserve and exhibit films in such detailed, explicit terms. Wasson makes a significant and unique contribution to the field."—Jan-Christopher Horak, editor of The Moving Image
Outstanding Academic Title, American Library Association
Finalist, Theatre Library Association Award, Theatre Library Association