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Title page of “Tentative and Confidential,” showing the section of the Museum of Modern Art Archives related to its subject.

Esopus 9 (Fall 2007)

Modern Artifacts 3: Tentative and Confidential

Introduction by Michelle Elligott

“…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 the Rona Roob Senior Museum Archivist at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Elligott coedited Art in Our Time: A Chronicle of the Museum of Modern Art, cocurated MoMA’s “1969” exhibition, and has published and lectured widely.