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Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award

The Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for museum scholarship was established in 1980, in honor of the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art and a scholar of early-twentieth-century painting. This award is presented to the author or authors of an especially distinguished catalogue in the history of art, published in the English language under the auspices of a museum, library, or collection. Catalogues of public or private collections or significant portions thereof and exhibition catalogues are eligible. The 2017 award year covers catalogues published between September 1, 2015, and August 31, 2016.

In 2009, CAA established a second Barr award for the author(s) of catalogues produced by smaller museums, libraries, and collections with an annual operating budget of less than $10 million dollars. If nominating a catalogue for this award; please identify if the institution producing the catalogue has an annual operating budget of more than $10 million (eligible for the “Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award”) or if the institution producing the catalogue has an annual operating budget of less than $10 million (eligible for the “Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums, Libraries, Collections, and Exhibitions”).

2016 Winners

Stephanie Barron and Sabine Eckmann
New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic 1919–1933

Stephanie Barron and Sabine Eckmann are faithful to Neue Sachlichkeit’s principle of “a new way of seeing” in their exhaustively researched and beautifully presented New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic 1919 –1933. Together with a consortium of twelve scholars, the authors eloquently portray the art of the Weimar era as “a phenomenon of crisis,” revisiting major figures and rescuing from obscurity artists erased by the cataclysm that followed. The catalogue’s sophisticated theoretical and methodological structure is to be commended as well: individual essays address the social, political, and commercial climate that shaped the interwar years, while additional thematic essays frame the plate sections, allowing more general connections to be made across genres. New Objectivity completes LACMA’s decades-long commitment to charting the history of German Art in the twentieth-century, following on the groundbreaking Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany (1991) and Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures (2009).

Jury: David Dearinger, Boston Athenaeum, chair; Kelly Baum, Princeton University Art Museum; Alison de Lima Greene, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Peter Sturman, University of California, Santa Barbara; and Thayer Tolles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Past Winners

CAA gave the first Barr award to Kurt Weitzmann, Margaret English Frazer, et al. in 1981 for Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century, the catalogue for an exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1979. Many more award-winning catalogues produced at that museum followed.

Publications for exhibitions held at many other institutions nationwide have been recognized by CAA for their excellence, including The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art at the Kimbell Art Museum (1988), “Degenerate Art”: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1993), and Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York at the National Museum of American Art (1997).

Read a list of all winners of the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award from 1981 to the present, a list of recipents of the second Barr award, and a list of finalists for both awards from 1996 to the present.

Award Nominations

CAA has begun accepting nominations for the 2017 awards. Please review the guidelines to familiarize yourself with the nomination process and to download, complete, and submit the requested materials. Deadline: July 31, 2016, for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Awards, and the Frank Jewett Mather Award; August 31, 2016, for all others.

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