The two books reviewed here, by Mardges Bacon and Thomas S. Hines, use the methods of biography to offer new insights into the Museum of Modern Art's engagement with architecture from its founding years until the mid-1980s. During that period, the exhibitions sponsored by MoMA's Department of Architecture and Design (A&D) garnered significant attention from the popular and trade presses, and the institution took seriously its self-appointed role as arbiter of the modernist canon. In the realm of architecture and design, the figure of Philip Johnson loomed large, but these books usefully refocus attention on the creative and administrative skills (or lack thereof) of two other men who...

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