Modern Artifacts 2: “Dear Miss Miller…”


For the second installment in our series highlighting selections from the archives of the Museum of Modern Art, archivist Michelle Elligott offers correspondence between the artist James Lee Byars and MoMA curator Dorothy C. Miller. The letters not only document the fascinating relationship between Byars and Miller, but serve as artifacts of the ideas and modes of expression Byars worked through during a decade abroad in Japan.

Michelle Elligott is Chief of Archives, Library, and Research Collections at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Museum Studies at New York University. Her award-winning publications include Modern Artifacts (2020), René d’Harnoncourt and the Art of Installation (2018), and Art in Our Time: A Chronicle of the Museum of Modern Art (2004). Elligott was a Center for Curatorial Leadership International Fellow in 2016 and a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece, in 2005. She holds a B.A. from Smith College and an M.A. from Hunter College, CUNY, both in Art History.