Saturday, October 25, 2014

An Art Show That the Sitting President Found 'Repellent'

There were hundreds of paintings featured alongside other artifacts at the February 27th-March 15th, 1913 New York City event "International Exhibition of Modern Art," short-formed by a feverish public as "The Armory Show" because it was held in the 69th Regiment Armory. Among those paintings, one in particular stood out, helping power an event that is credited with showing today's museums and galleries the way.

From the Director's Statement of Michael Maglaras, whose documentary about The Armory Show The Great Confusion screens Sunday October 26th in Falmouth, Virginia at the Gari Melchers Home and Studio:

Opening day was a mob scene. On closing day, the mob was three times larger. The press went mad.
For 27 days we became a nation absorbed by art, and never again in our history would we show ourselves to be that committed to a cultural debate of that magnitude...
The Armory Show had its bad boy in Marcel Duchamp, and his work "Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2" was the painting that cinched his future and dragged us headfirst into the Modern Era. "Nude" is a remarkable work of provocation. There was plenty of better art in the show... but that was not the point. One hundred years ago "Nude" created a wonderful circus atmosphere, and the Modern Art movement today owes its P.T. Barnum reputation to that legacy.

Maglaras, formerly a professional opera singer, launched record label 217 Records in 2001 and film company 217 Films in 2003. His production company partner Terri Templeton, executive producer of The Great Confusion, will be at Sunday's screening to introduce the film and take part in a Q&A.

Helping seal the disruptive nature of The Armory Show were the comments of the POTUS. After visiting the exhibition, Theodore Roosevelt deemed many of the works "repellent." The show was put on by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, a small group that paid for the rental of the NYC space.

[217 Films]

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