Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art,
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
In February 1913, the American public was introduced to modern art through a massive presentation of over 1300 works in The International Exhibition of Modern Art. On view inside the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue in New York and popularly known as The Armory Show, the exhibition included well known modern pioneers such as Paul CÚzanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gaugin, as well as more radical Fauvist, Cubist, Futurist, and Dada works by artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Wassily Kandinsky, and many others. The exhibition was organized by a small group of American artists and underscored the disparity of innovation between the visual arts in the United States and Europe. The Armory Show caused a sensation among the general public, was savagely derided in the press, and forever changed the course of American art. This seminar will detail the genesis of the exhibition, explore some of the significant works included in it, examine reactions by the press and the public, and reveal how its legacy is still felt today.