The Armory Show at 100: Modernism and Revolution
by Marilyn Satin Kushner and Kimberly Orcutt, eds.
New York Historical Society, 2013
Call Number: N6448 A74 A76 2013
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This volume was put together by the New York Historical Society to accompany their centennial retrospective of the Armory Show. Kushner says in her introduction that throughout the book an attempt was made to separate the legends about the show from the facts about it. (This meant that the writers started with critiquing material previously written about the show and then moved on to new research. She also states that by including essays written by authorities in various fields the editors attempted to view the show from perspectives not previously investigated. This was especially evident in the chapters which discussed the social issues New York was struggling with at that time and how they affected the show.
The essays are divided into six major categories:
- “ORGANIZERS” (a roughly ten page essay on each of the four major organizers of the show)
- “NY and the US ca. 1913” (the historical and cultural context of the show, especially in New York)
- “THE EXHIBITION” (general introductions to the American and European art along with five to ten page essays on nine artists, one essay on drawings in the show, and another on prints)
- “RESPONSES” (of both critics and the public) Example: “An elderly gentleman `suddenly became vociferous and almost violent in his efforts to keep a friend from looking at a Picasso’”
- “TRAVELING VENUES” (the differences between the Armory Shows in New York, Chicago, and Boston)
- “LEGACY” (both short and long term legacies for art dealers, collectors, and the course of American art).
Ken Johnson, in The New York Times Holiday Gift Guide 2013 states that “It [the book] conveys a good idea of how and why an exhibition that happened a century ago is still worth thinking about."