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Friday, February 15, 2013

The Armory Show at 100

This Sunday marks the centennial of the opening of the famed International Exhibition of Modern Art held at New York's 69th Regiment Armory and now generally known simply as "The Armory Show."

We are dedicating two posts to the show -- next week, we'll look at the history of the building that gave its name to the show and to numerous medieval-looking armory buildings that are scattered around New York.

For a history of the exhibit, these articles from the New Criterion and New York Times are a good place to start. Today, rather than try to summarize the show and importance, we thought we'd simply showcase some of the remarkable art that rocked America. (When the show moved to Chicago, the press there called it “profane,” “blasphemous,” “obscene,” and “vile.”) In all, there were over 1,250 works by over 150 artists. Some works, like Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, were maligned at the time and have come to be seen as icons of American art. Other works and their artists have disappeared from public consciousness. Below, a tiny sampling of some of the works in the show:

A Centennial of Independence by Henri Rousseau (1892)
courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Trust
Georges Braque Violin and Candlestick (1910)
courtesy of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Paul Gaugin Words of the Devil (1892)
courtesy of the National Gallery of Art 

Charles Sheeler Landscape (1913)
Marcel Duchamp Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912)
courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Henri Matisse The Blue Nude (Souvenir de Biskra) (1907)
courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Art

Another fun artifact from the show is the list (now in the Archives of American Art) drawn up by Pablo Picasso of European artists he thought would be appropriate for the exhibit, including Duchamp (spelled wrong), Juan Gris, and -- seemingly as an afterthought -- Braque.

Courtesy of the Archives of American Art.

Picasso was in the exhibit himself, with Woman with Mustard Pot:

Pablo Picasso Woman with Mustard Pot (1910)
courtesy of the Geemente Museum
There will be two museum exhibition commemorating the Armory Show this year. One will be at the New-York Historical Society in the fall; the second opens this Sunday (on the exact centennial of the show's debut) at the Montclair Art Museum.

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Read more about art in NYC in 

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