Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern | MoMA EXHIBITION


Driven. Curious. Persistent. Generous. Obsessive. Stubborn. Was he complicated? Yes. And very tall. People have called him a giant sequoia. He was well over 6 feet. He had a pair of very intense, penetrating eyes. He was an aficionado of cats. That’s not a surprise, because I think,
not only cats, but also Lincoln Kirstein seemed to have had nine lives. Kirstein himself talks about not being bound
by categories. That expansive view of what art could be was
there from the very beginning. He’s most known as the co-founder
of the New York City Ballet. But he was so much more than that. He was an omnivorous cinephile. He was interested in newsreel avant-garde
films, Eisenstein. Even as a very young man in his twenties he
understood what it took to build an institution. Theaters, companies, schools. When he wanted to support artists, he was
able to go to his family to ask for funds, but it wasn’t without
hand wringing on his part. Lincoln was always bumping up against power
structures. He really struggled for what he believed in. His diaries are full of anxiety: “Is this
the right thing?” “Is this the right path?” He was married to a woman, but he also had
relationships with men throughout his life. He helps us to move beyond the limits of conventional
ways of understanding. The history of modernism is often one about
medium specificity. But Kirstein was someone who was really invested
in the marriage between the different arts. How could he have been in all these places? How could he have done all these things? How could he be this, but also that? Any one truth about Lincoln is a partial truth.

4 thoughts on “Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern | MoMA EXHIBITION

  1. this is incredible. i'm planning to visit MoMA NYC for the first time soon. im really excited and it's going to be an amazing experience. <3

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