Posts Tagged ‘69th Regiment Armory’

The beautiful fortress near Gramercy Park

September 15, 2014

When plans were being drawn up for the new armory for New York’s fabled 69th Regiment in 1901, architects Richard and Joseph Hunt (sons of Richard Morris Hunt, who designed the great hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) rejected the Medieval style of most city armories of the era.

Instead, they created something new, commanding, and beautiful.

69th armory postcard

This Beaux-Arts fortress, spanning Park and Lexington Avenues at 25th Street, still had a military feel, with its massive drill hall and gun bays along the Lexington Avenue side.

Twin plaques on the facade list the Civil War battlegrounds where the “fighting 69th” earned their nickname from Robert E. Lee.

It’s a solid, beautiful armory, one of a small group in Manhattan that still remains—used for shows, fairs, and of course, the famous 1913 Armory Show, where modern art made its startling New York City debut.

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.