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The Armory Show

The Armory Show was the first, and, ultimately, the only exhibition organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors.  Officially titled The International Exhibition of Modern Art, the exhibition started in New York City's 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, from February 17 until March 15, 1913. The exhibition went on to show at the Art Institute of Chicago and then to the Copley Art Society in Boston.Armory Show  New York  1913  cover (3)

The show became perhaps the most important event in the history of American art.  American audiences who were accustomed to more realistic or sentimental art, were introduced to cutting edge European artists work, including Fauvists, Cubists, and Futurists.   Reviews of the exhibition accused the art of inciting everything from anarchy to insanity.  Works like Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, created a shock among viewers, and caused many American artists to question the boundaries of what art could be.  Many art historians consider the exhibition to have been the turning point that encouraged American artists to become more avant-garde.

The Art Special Collection holds a fine copy of the original catalog of the show, made more interesting by the discreet comments penciled by some of the American art entries by “Abbot”, the original owner of the catalog.  You can view the catalog, N6448.A74 A3 1913, as well as the Association's published response to the exhibition, For and Against: Views on the International Exhibition held in New York & Chicago, N5015.A8 A8 1913, in the Sherman Art Library.

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