10am - 5pm
Free admission entrance C
1, rue de la Légion d'Honneur
Simultaneous translation English/French
The Armory Show took place in the context of a particular historical moment: just as New York was becoming established as the cultural capital of the United States and world capital of modernity. There will be presentations on the cosmopolitan identity of New York, its role as a centre of communication, the emergence of a New York intelligentsia, the Greenwich Village "Little Renaissance" and finally on the convergence of political and cultural radical movements through the Paterson workers’ strike (New-Jersey) in June 1913 and in the pages of the political magazine The Masses.
The inauguration of the Armory Show in New York on 17 February 1913 provoked numerous reactions in the United States that still resonate one century later. Marilyn Kushner, joint curator of the 2013 exhibition, analyses the context and organisation of this revolutionary exhibition, which changed the American public’s relationship with art forever.
Acknowledged as having ushered in American pictorial modernism, the Armory Show clearly sparked a revolution. The exhibition, which aimed to loosen the vice-like grip of American academism embodied by the National Academy of Design, turned against those who had organised it. It took until the 1960s to resolve the confusion between modernity and the formalism of the paintings by Duchamp, Picasso and Matisse that made the Armory Show so successful.
The Armory Show marked not only a transformation of art forms exhibited in the United States, but also a turning point in the role and the ultimate aims of American art critics, and even more so in the American art milieu. This presentation explores these transformations and their legacy.
The exhibition hosted by the American Art Association of Paris in January 1908 marked a commitment to Modernism within the American artistic community in Paris. The works presented – by John Marin and Edward Steichen in particular – and the critical acclaim that they received, revealed an increasing desire to reject academic conventions and to embrace artistic experimentation in the years preceding the Armory Show.
In 1912, Cologne was host to the Sonderbund Exhibition, considered one of the most important presentations of European Modern Art prior to the First World War as all the latest groundbreaking artists were represented there. Following the centenary exhibition in Cologne in 2012, we will explore how this show came to make such a major contribution to the expression of modern art, not only in Germany, but also internationally. It was a model for the Armory Show.
Walter Pach, the European agent for the Armory Show, selected artworks from the Parisian avant-garde movement, which caused a sensation in the United States. Research into the exhibition has focused mainly on how it was received in America, but little has been said about the reaction of the Europeans. We will look at their critical responses through their correspondence with Walter Pach.
Just as America was waking up to modern art, the wealthy, influential and enterprising New York lawyer, John Quinn (1870-1924), spent his entire fortune supporting avant-garde artists for half a century. Today, his pioneering role is largely unacknowledged, despite the fact that he was the most significant lender and purchaser of the works at the Armory Show. We will examine the French works in his collection.
The sculptors selected for the Armory Show, artists as diverse as Archipenko, Joseph Bernard, Brancusi, Duchamp-Villon, Epstein, Lehmbruck, Maillol, Manolo, Matisse, Nadelman, Picasso and Rodin, and to which we should add numerous American sculptors such as Lachaise and Miestchaninoff, presented an entirely new image of sculpture, unusual to us, but one appreciated by the collectors, dealers, critics and artists of the time.
The presentation of Brancusi’s sculptures at the Armory Show – including one, Mlle Pogany, that caused uproar – marked his first foray in the United States, which was to host several of his exhibitions. This presence, highly publicised in 1926 during a heated legal battle with American Customs when the press ridiculed his sculptures for a second time, was no less significant in terms of his international reputation.
Based on a statement by Marcel Duchamp paying tribute to the work of Odilon Redon – seventy works on display – which he considered to be the "starting point" for his own work, this presentation looks at the similarities between the very different trends of modernism – Symbolist suggestiveness and the Readymade.
Despite the largely favourable critical reception accorded to the British artists, the exhibition had little impact on their careers during the years that followed, nor on their artistic contribution. We will attempt to find the reasons for this contradiction.
After the French Cubists had rejected it at the Salon des Indépendants in March 1912, Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase (n°2, 1912) became a success by scandal at the Armory Show. Why was its reception in America so different from public reaction at the time of its initial presentations in March 1912 and in February 1913?
The exhibition The Armory Show at 100 sheds new light on an event that has for so long been obscured by its own legend. One of the co-curators of the exhibition will present new research and new perspectives on this event that had such a decisive impact in its time, together with images of the exhibition at the New York Historical Society.
The Penguin, an important group of artists brought together by Walt Kuhn after the Armory Show, exhibited experimental works of art by international artists, particularly by British Vorticists. The Penguin exhibitions, and their extravagant costume balls, ensured that modernism was actively promoted during the First World War, a period of withdrawal in American culture.
The change in taste expressed through art galleries in America, and the new trends seen in art shows following the Armory Show, reveal the crucial role played by the exhibition’s organisers in promoting modernism and in shaping the tastes of collectors.
Did the Armory Show, usually analysed for its aesthetic impact on the American public, create a minor social revolution in the United States? It is a fact that local minorities (women, artists and Native Americans) who, after this exciting “time of acceleration”, in the words of Meyer Schapiro, were able to confront the social issue of the artist who had, for too long in America, been seen as unproductive.