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The Armory Show

Many historians point to the Armory Show of 1913 as an authentic starting point for American modernism. From February 17th to March 15th, 1913, organizers presented an exhibition of about 1250 paintings, sculptures, and other works in the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue in New York City. Many critics and viewers were shocked by the show; many, especially younger, artists and critics were energized and inspired by the show.

After our next class, we’ll meet in the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue. Virtually, of course. Point your browser to: the Armory galleries. Take a tour of the show – – browse through as many rooms as you can. Afterward, write a 3 page review (typed/double-spaced) of the show.

Address your review to a classmate who asks the question: what makes this stuff modern? E.g. think about all the modernist poetry and prose that we’ve read. What connections do you see between the artwork in the Armory Show and the texts we’ve read in class? Pay attention to our “Modernist recap”  – – on Tuesday – – where we will try  to arrive at four broad ways of describing the modernist ambition and aesthetic.
Don’t try to write about the whole exhibition; instead, focus on two or three works of art – – sculpture or painting – – that seem particularly related to the poetry and prose that we’ve read. What similar subject matter do they share? What similar techniques? What similar approaches to the reader, to the art work, to the artistic effect, and to tradition?
Due: Tuesday, August 2.

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