Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Many exhibitions have been held in the vast spaces of U.S. National Guard armories, but the Armory Show refers to the exhibition that opened in New York City's 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, on February 17, 1913, ran to March 15, and became the legendary watershed date in the history of American art , introducing astonished New Yorkers, accustomed to realistic art, to modernism.
About the show, President Theodore Roosevelt said,
- "That's not art!"
The Armory Show, officially titled "The International Exhibition of Modern Art", displayed some 1,250 paintings, sculptures, and decorative works by over 300 avant-garde European and American artists. dadaist, fauvist, surrealist and cubist works were represented.
The purchase of Paul Cézanne's "Hill of the Poor" by the Metropolitan Museum of Art signaled an integration of modernism into the established New York museum, but among the younger artists represented, Cezanne was already an established master.
Among the scandalously radical works of art, pride of place must go to Marcel Duchamp's cubist/futurist style "Nude Descending a Staircase," painted the year before, in which motion was expressed by successive superimposed images, as in motion pictures. An art critic for the New York Times wrote that the work resembled "an explosion in a shingle factory," and cartoonists satirized the piece.
Duchamp first submitted the work to appear in a cubist show at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris, but the Puteaux cubists, including his two brothers, asked that he withdraw the painting, or paint over the title that he had painted on the work and rename it something else. Instead, Duchamp removed the work from the Salon exhibition, and it went on to create a scandal at the Armory Show.
Duchamp's brother, who went by the nom de guerre Jacques Villon, also exhibited, sold all his cubist paintings and struck a sympathetic nerve with New York collectors, who supported him for the next decades.
Starting with a small exhibition in 1994, by 2001 the "New" New York Armory Show, held in piers on the Hudson River, evolved into a "hugely entertaining" (New York Times) annual contemporary arts festival with a strong commercial bent.
- The World of Marcel Duchamp. Calvin Tompkins. Time-Life Books. 1966. p. 15.
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