Posts Tagged ‘Marcel Duchamp in New York City’

The 1913 art exhibit that scandalized New York

March 1, 2012

The organizers of the 1913 International Exhibit of Modern Art knew their show would be a magnet for attention and criticism.

Consisting of more than 1,200 paintings, sculptures, and decorative pieces by 300 bold avant-garde European and American artists, the exhibit opened on February 17, 1913, at the Lexington Avenue Armory on 25th Street.

Immediately, it was derided by the press and public.

A New York Times letter described it as the art of “savages and children.” Even President Theodore Roosevelt reportedly weighed in by announcing, “That’s not art!”

Few knew what to make of Cubist, Symbolist, and Impressionist artists. Taking a big hit was Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. One critic said it resembled “an explosion in a shingle factory.”

Still, at 25 cents to $1 per person for admission and running until mid-March, it drew packed crowds and was considered a success, ultimately introducing Modern art to a nation used to Realism and signaling a “rebellion in art.”

Here’s a list of the artists (such as John Sloan, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, and Edvard Monk) whose work appeared in the show.


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