What Makes a Room Unforgettable?
What Makes a Room Unforgettable? is a book of interviews with famous people, edited and translated into several languages by The New York Times. It has become the standard on-the-job training for people working or studying in the fields of history and art.
The first chapter consists of a biographical interview conducted by The Times with painter and art historian Dr. Alfred H. Barr in which he describes his early life and career, and his ideas about and opinions on the history and art of the United States. This interview made him the first painter to be elected to be a member of the National Academy of Design, the Academy of Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design, and the Academy of American Artists.
The second chapter consists of interviews with Dr. Frank Elstiner, professor at Columbia University and the Guggenheim Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. This chapter contains interviews covering the following topics: “The American Image”; “The American Dream”; “The American Imagination”; “The Art of America” (to be continued); “The Role of Religion”; “The Art of War” (to be continued); “The War of Ideas”; “America at War”; “American Art” (to be continued); “The American People”; and “The American Civil War.”
The third chapter contains interviews with Dr. James E. Smith, associate professor at Columbia University and the Institute of Art and Archaeology, who discusses the art of the United States and the nature of art in general. There are also interviews with Dr. Frank G. Stanley, professor emeritus at Columbia University, and Dr. John Howard Griffin, professor at the University of Chicago.
Dr. Alfred H. Barr’s book, American Painting: The Life and Work of a Master, contains the first complete chronicle of the career of Alfred H. Barr, and one of the most important books ever written on the subject. The third chapter was one of the most influential chapters in the book, and, as a result, has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
The book includes contributions from people who had lived in and visited Europe, and whose works had an influence on American art and artists. It was not published in English until the year of Barr’s death