Professor Bacon’s book was included in the
2018 Holiday Book Roundup “The Editors Select”
Architectural Record (December 2018)
Review by Suzanne Stephens, Deputy Editor
“Although McAndrew is one of the lesser-known figures active during the rise of modernist architecture in the U.S. in the early to mid-20th century, this authoritative and engaging exploration brings to light his contributions as an architect, educator, and curator. Mardges Bacon illuminates his achievements as part of a fascinating sociocultural moment. McAndrew studied at Harvard at about the same time as future International Style architecture proponents Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Alfred Barr, and Philip Johnson, and then designed the library in the new Bauhaus-influeced approach at Vassar College, where he taught. From 1937 to 1941 he acted as the curator of Architecture and Industrial Art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, following Johnson, who had left the post in 1934. At MoMA, Bacon argues, McAndrew introduced a more inclusive, American approach to modern and International Style ethos, and in later years helped bring Mexican art to the attention of the U.S.”
John McAndrew’s Modernist Vision tells the compelling story of the architect, scholar, and curator John McAndrew, who played a key role in redefining modernism in the United States from the 1930s onward. The designer of the Vassar College Art Library—arguably the first modern interior on a college campus—and the curator of architecture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1937 to 1941, McAndrew was instrumental in creating a distinct and innovative aesthetic that bridged the European modernist lineage and American regional vernacular. Providing a fascinating glimpse into McAndrew’s life, his associations with important architects and artists, and the historical context that shaped his work, this book is a thoroughly researched testament to a man who left a powerful mark on the evolution of American architecture.