Mock, Elizabeth and John McAndrew: WHAT IS MODERN ARCHITECTURE? New York: Museum of Modern Art, August 1942.

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Introductory Series to the Modern Arts No. 1

Elizabeth Mock and John McAndrew

Elizabeth Mock and John McAndrew: WHAT IS MODERN ARCHITECTURE? New York: Museum of Modern Art, August 1942. First edition [Introductory Series to the Modern Arts No. 1].  Slim quarto. Thick printed wrappers. 36 pp. 80 black and white gravure images. Errata sheet tipped in. Wrappers lightly worn and lower corner gently bumped, but a nearly fine copy of the first edition of this influential title.

7.5 x 10 book with 36 pages and 80 black and white images printed in gorgeous photogravure. The first publication of the Introductory Series to the Modern Arts. Based upon a circulating exhibition prepared by MOMA's former Curators of Architecture, John McAndrew and Elizabeth Mock. Photos by Hedrich Blessing, Ezra Stoller, Russell Lee and others.

With the Introductory Series to the Modern Arts,  Alfred Barr and his associates at the Museum of Modern Art set out to impress their own vision of the avant-garde on the rest of America. Terence Riley noted that the early tastemakers at MoMA understood their job was to separate “the wheat from the chaff.” Few people rose to that challenge with more vigor than Philip Johnson, the young head of the Department of Architecture and Design. Barr’s insistence on including Architecture and Design as a fully functioning department within MoMA was a radical curatorial departure, which seems only obvious today.

  • Frontispiece - REINHARD & HOFMEISTER, CORBETT, HARRISON & MacMURRAY, HOOD & FOUlLHOUX:Rockefeller Center, New York, 1931-1940.
  • ELIEL and EERO SAARINEN; PERKINS, WHEELER and WILL. Crow Island School. Winnetka, III., 1940. Extenor; Isometric view of classroom unit; Classroom boys; Classroom.
  • LE CORBUSIER and JEANNERET~ Swiss Dormitory. Paris, 1930-32. Plan; North façade;  South façade, Drawing; Terrace.
  • WALTER GROPlUS: Bauhaus. Dessau. Germany. 1925-26. Airview; Exterior; Workshop and technical school; Bauhaus, Dessau Drawing; Exterior.
  • GROPIUS and BREUER: Breuer House, Lincoln, Mass., 1939.
  • RICHARD J. NEUTRA, V.L.D. Research House, Los Angeles, Calif. 1932.  Bell Experimental School, Los Angeles, Calif., 1935. Plan; Outdoor classroom.
  • HOWE and LESCAZE: Philadelphia Savings Fund Society Building, Philadelphia, Pa., 1932.
  • ERIC MENDELSOHN: Schocken Department Store, Chemnitz, Germany, 1928.
  • LUBETKIN and TECTON: Highpoint Flats, London, 1935;  Penguin Pool, London Zoo, 1933.
  • FRANCIS JOSEPH McCARTHY: McPherson House. Berkeley, Calif., 1939. Bedroom.
  • BEAUDOUIN and LODS, Open.or school, Suresnes, France, 1935-36 Airview.
  • EDWARD D. STONE, Goodyear House, Old Westbury, Long Island, 1939.
  • HARWELL HAMILTON HARRIS, Hawk House. Los Angeles, Calif., 1939.
  • WILLIAM MUSCHENHEIM, De Liagre vacation house, Woodstock, N. Y., 1937.
  • FOREST PRODUCTS LABORATORY, Experimental Plywood House. Madison, Wis.
  • PHILIP L. GOODWIN and EDWARD D. STONE: Museum of Modern Art, New York. 1939. Members' Rooms; Library; Auditorium.
  • IGNAZIO GARDELLA and LUIGI MARTINI: Tuberculosis clinic, Alessandrio. Italy, obout 1938. Sun terrace.
  • L. MIES VAN DER ROHE, Model House, Berlin Building Exposition, 1931. Plan. Model House. Views of living space. German Building, Barcelona World's Fair. 1929. Interior.
  • OSCAR STONOROV: Charleston Playhouse, near Phoenixville, Pa., 1939.
  • SERGE CHERMAYEFF: Own House, Sussex, England, 1937.
  • ALVAR and AINO AALTO: Newspaper Plant, Turku, Finland, 1929. Pressroom;  Finnish Building, World's Fair, Paris. 1937, Interior court. Entrance; Diagram of reinforced wood columns; Loggia; Central Court.
  • FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: Johnson Wax Factory, Racine, Wis., 1937. Administration Building, truck entrance. Kaufmann House, Bear Run, Pa., 1937. View from the stream; General view; Guest House, 1939;  House Plan.
  • LUCIO COSTA and OSCAR NIEMEYER SOARES, with PAUL LESTER WEINER: Brazilian Building, New York World's Fair, 1939. Restaurant.
  • JOHN YEON and A. E. DOYLE and associates, Watzek House, Portland. Ore., 1938.
  • CARL S. KOCH, JR.: Own House. Belmont. Mass. 1940. Living Room; Exterior.  House Plan;  Entrance from living room; Office.
  • JOHN FUNK: Heckendorf House, Modesto, Calif., 1939. View from garden; Living room. House Plan; View from street.
  • BRINKMAN and VAN DER VLUGT: Van Nelle Factory, Rotterdam. Holland, 1927-28. In construction; Rear façade; View from Street.
  • RAYMOND M. HOOD and JOHN MEAD HOWELLS: Daily News Building, New York, 1930.
  • FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: Burton D. Cairns and Vernon Demars, architects: Farm Workers' Community. Yuba City, CoIif.. 1940;  House-rows, south side.
  • TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY: Roland A. Wank, Principal Architect; Theodore C. Parker. Chief Engineer. Dam and Powerhouse. Hiwassee. Tenn., 1940.

Philip Johnson's 1928 visit to the Bauhaus Dessau sparked Johnson's imagination and solidified his role as a proselytizer for the European avant-garde architecture. "We were proud to be avant-gardists; we wore our enthusiasm as a badge of honor that distinguished us as culturally superior to those around us." Johnson said.

From this plateau of cultural superiority, Johnson and his MoMA collaborators Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and Henry-Russell Hitchcock eventually labeled this architecture “The International Style.” These authors argue that architects of the 1910s and 1920s abandoned the imitative "styles" of the nineteenth century in favor of designs prompted by the vision of the individual architect.

Hitchcock and Johnson suggest that this experiment produced, by the early 1930s, a distinct style, as sound and deserving of respect as some of the most revered styles of the past, including classical, Gothic, renaissance, and baroque. Examples of this new style accompanied the original text in the form of blueprints and designs and are reproduced in this book. "The International Style" was written to record the International Exhibition of Modern Architecture held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1932, and it identified, categorized and expanded upon characteristics common to Modernism across the world and its stylistic aspects.

The aim of Hitchcock and Johnson was to define a style that would encapsulate this modern architecture, and they did this by the inclusion of specific architects. Hitchcock is considered the founder of modern architectural history and his co-author Johnson became an icon of the modern movement, as well as one of its most celebrated and questionable figures.