Since the newspapers had contributed so much (even though indirectly) to the success of the Armory Show, the AAPS invited “our Friends and Enemies of the Press” to a “beefsteak dinner” on March 8. During the dinner, waitresses sang and danced, speeches were made, and comic telegrams were read. Many had been both excited and disturbed by the exhibition as “It was a good show, but don’t do it again” (qtd. in Altschuler 73). The irony of such a statement was that it did not have to be done again, for the Armory Show triggered the sort of interest in the new art that ordinarily would have taken years to develop. The show made enthusiasts of many who would influence art in years to come, such as the thirteen-year-old Betty Parsons, future dealer of Jackson Pollock and the Abstract Expressionists, and Walter Arensberg, who saw the exhibition on the last day and would move soon from Boston to New York to be at the center of the modernist development in America.

The exhibition diminished in size as it traveled, with the American section in Chicago including only works by the members of the AAPS, and the Boston show contained foreign art alone. But in Chicago, during its three and a half weeks at the Art Institute, over 100,000 more people visited the exhibition than had done so in New York. In anticipation of the opening, the Chicago Record-Herald on March 20 tried to prepare its readers for what they would see:

Cubist Art--The portrayal in one perfectly stationary picture of about 5,000 feet of motion pictures: a “woosy” attempt to express the fourth dimension.

Futurist Art--Same as the former, only more so, with primeval instincts thrown in; Cubism carried to the extreme or fifth dimension.

Post-Impressionism--The other two thrown together.

How to Appreciate It--Eat three welsh rarebits, smoke two pipefuls of “hop” and sniff cocaine until every street car looks like a goldfish and the Masonic Temple resembles a tiny white mouse (qtd. in Altshuler 76)

The remaining days of the AAPS were not happy ones despite the Armory Show’s great success. The attention that the European art drew had turned the tables on the artists of the Henri group. Before 1913, these American Realists had been considered avant-garde in their art, at least to a public unaware of “291,” but now found themselves viewed as passé. By bringing

modern art to the attention of a greater public, inspiring collectors and patrons, creating a market in which galleries would survive, the Armory Show was of single importance for the new American art and laid the foundation for the development of American modernist abstraction replacing American realism. (continue)

Ashcan School | George Bellows | Ernest Lawson | Everett Shinn | George Luks | William Glackens | Robert Henri | John Sloan | Maurice Prendergast | Georgia O'Keefe | Charles Sheeler

Armory Show Web Site
Linda M. Larson.  All rights reserved.
Revised: 29 Nov 2000 14:30:28 -0500 .