The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913 celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the famous and controversial 1913 Armory Show with a major exhibition that opened exactly 100 years to the day from the original. The New Spirit was the first exhibition to focus primarily on the American artists represented in that show.
The International Exhibition of Modern Art, better known as The Armory Show, held at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue at East 25th Street in Manhattan, giving the show its unofficial name, comprised more than 1,200 works of art by American and European artists. While American art constituted two-thirds of the work on view, it was the European art that caused a stir and that has dominated discussion of the Armory Show ever since.
The exhibition at the Montclair Art Museum presented mainly the American artists who contributed to the Armory Show and enlisted new scholarship to challenge the conventional notion that their art was largely provincial. The exhibition spotlighted the diverse range of American art that was exhibited with nearly 40 works of various media by 36 American artists, including several notable female artists. It included works by well-known artists like Edward Hopper, Robert Henri, and John Marin, as well as works by artists such as Manierre Dawson, Kathleen McEnery, and E. Ambrose Webster, who, despite their talents, remain at the periphery of mainstream American art history. An introductory section featured works by Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse to reveal the influence and context of European modernism. Special efforts were made to recreate details of the original installation, including burlap wall coverings, decorative pine trees, and yellow-hued streamers overhead, forming a tentlike canopy for the exhibition space.
The Montclair Art Museum collaborated with the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art on a gallery that was devoted to rare and unique primary documents pertaining to the Armory Show. These included personal letters, floor plans, sales records, admission tickets, catalogues, buttons, and invitations, as well as reproductions of the original installation. The Archives of American Art also launched a related online exhibition, The Story in Primary Sources.
The exhibition is co-curated by Gail Stavitsky, MAM chief curator, and guest curator Laurette McCarthy.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, distributed by the Penn State University Press for the Montclair Art Museum. The catalogue includes an introduction by Gail Stavitsky and essays by Laurette E. McCarthy on the American artists in the show and on the art collectors. An essay by Charles H. Duncan, collections specialist at the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, presents the history of the Armory Show’s primary sources. It is available in The Store at MAM for $29.95. Softcover: 8 ½ x 11 inches, 160 pages, 60 color/40 black-and-white illustrations.
Redefining American Art: Organizers of the 1913 Armory Show in MAM's Collection
A significant part of the Armory Show Story is the work of its artist-organizers, principally Arthur B. Davies, Walt Kuhn, and Walter Pach, who worked feverishly and under crushing deadlines to bring about and publicize this exhibition of unprecendented scope. Featuring a selection of works from the museum’s collection, this exhibition showcased these progressive artists responsible for the conception and execution of the momentous 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art. Organized by Kimberly Fisher, Curatorial Assistant.
2013 ARMORY SHOW
Montclair Art Museum is a proud cultural partner of The Armory Show Centennial Edition, March 7-10, 2013.
The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913 is made possible with generous support from
This exhibition is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Exhibition Angels: the Vance Wall Foundation, The Susan V. Bershad Charitable Fund, Tracy Higgins and James Leitner, Jacqueline and Herb Klein, Toni LeQuire-Schott and Newton B. Schott, Jr., Adrian Shelby and Edward Bindel, Margo and Frank Walter, as well as by Arthur Cohen / LaPlaca Cohen, D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc., The Lichtenberg Family Foundation, Morgan Anderson Consulting, and the Judith Targan Endowment Fund for Museum Publications.
All Museum programs are made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vance Wall Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Museum Members.