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February 17: The Armory Show

Lawrence Bush
February 17, 2010

armory_showCamille Pisarro, Paul Burlin, Elie Nadelman, Jo Davidson, Abraham Walkowitz, and William Zorach were among the Jewish artists represented at the Armory Show in New York City, which opened on this day in 1913 and introduced America to the avant-garde of the art world. Known officially as the International Exhibition of Modern Art, the show took place at the Armory of the 69th Regiment (Lexington Ave between 25th and 26th). Among the participating European painters were Paul Cezanne, Paul Gaugin, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Edvard Munch, Marcel Duchamp, Vincent Van Gogh and Wassily Kandinsky; among the many Americans were Mary Cassatt, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, and James Whistler. Four thousand guests visited the armory on opening night, and the exhibition, which moved to Chicago in March of 1913, created a seismic shift in American perceptions of modernism.
“I would say to every young artist of great talent: live art, sleep art, think art, talk art, write art, in other words, marry art. Treasure talent in yourself and allow nothing to degrade it.” —William Zorach

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.