Modern Artifacts 3: Tentative and Confidential


“…the show is not an ephemeral one. The need for its message will grow. Millions of people will take part in it; millions more will be influenced by it.”

In the third installment of “Modern Artifacts,” an ongoing series presented in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art Archives, we reproduce the never-before-seen notes, blueprints, sketches, and correspondence relating to “Exhibition X,” a fascinating top-secret project hatched (and ultimately shelved) by museum trustees in 1940.

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.