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The Shock of the New -- 102 Years Ago

The Armory Show. Feb 17-March 15, 1913. New York City. They say great art anticipates. On the eve of a great historic spasm, the art world experienced an earth-shaking moment of its own. It was the first large exhibit of modern art in America. What the punters must have thought! And indeed, just as Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" would do in Paris a few weeks later, it offended the sensibilities of many. Roosevelt opined, "That's not art!". This new way of seeing was indicative of the optimism of a new century, yet also foreshadowed the truly offensive horrors to come. The 69th Infantry Regiment, whose armory it was (and still is), would be in France by October 1917. The iconoclasm of the Fauvists, Cubists, and Futurists, heralded a changing of the guard and a toppling of Europe's old orders. The incident in Sarajevo may have caused the kettle to reach the boiling point, but this exhibit showed that something had been brewing for some time. And it wasn't just an all-avant garde, -male, -European affair, as this piece in ArtNews explains.