14 Pages


The Museum of Modern Art (MoMAs) radical assertiveness is, perhaps, its greatest contribution to the development of similar museums. Whereas preceding institutions in New York kept a low profile and their equivalent in other cities had a timid, contradictory or unpremeditated approach in defining their speciality in the latest art, the MoMA became a provoking champion of modernity and boasted its role as such both through its name and activities and through architecture of its new building, inaugurated in 1939. The promising boost of modernity and internationalism which had fostered great museum innovations there at the turn of century was soon undermined by National Socialism in particular and by nationalism in general, which was prevalent in central European cultural policy. The USA, an emerging economic and political power on international scene at the height of the Gilded Age, were no exception as regards the proliferation of museums of contemporary art which was widespread in the rest of the Western world.