32¢ Armory Show
Celebrate the Century – 1910s
Issue Date: February 3, 1998
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
The Armory Show is the informal name for the International Exhibition of Modern Art held at New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory in 1913. It was the first large exhibition of modern art in the United States. The show opened in New York and then traveled to Boston and Chicago. Altogether it was attended by some 300,000 people.
The art movements developing in Europe during the early 1900s influenced many American painters. The purpose of the Armory Show was to introduce the work of “anti-academic” artists from both the U.S. and Europe. (At the time, though, the European artists were more innovative while the American artists were mostly conventional.) The exhibition included modern movements such as postimpressionism, fauvism, and cubism.
Overall, Americans were shocked by their first look at modern art, and the Armory Show was received with widespread debate. Marcel Duchamp’s cubist painting, Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, which suggests motion by blending a series of images, probably caused the greatest sensation and controversy of the exhibit.
The Armory Show introduced the U.S. to modernism. In the decades to follow, its impact on American art would come to be accepted, understood, and greatly valued.