armory

Armory Show

formally International Exhibition of Modern Art

Exhibition of painting and sculpture held in 1913 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. Conceived by its organizers, the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, as a selection of works exclusively by U.S. artists, it evolved into a comprehensive look at current European art movements, due in part to the advanced vision of association president Arthur B. Davies. Of the 1,300 works assembled, one-third were European, tracing the evolution of modern art from Francisco de Goya to Marcel Duchamp and Vasily Kandinsky, with works representative of Impressionism, Symbolism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism. Perhaps the most controversial work was Duchamp's nearly abstract Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912). The U.S. artists featured were mainly members of the Ash Can school and The Eight. The show exposed the American public for the first time to advanced European art; American art suffered by contrast. The exhibition traveled to Chicago and Boston, establishing itself as a decisive event in the development of U.S. art and art collecting.

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