Synopses & Reviews
The story of the most important art show in U.S. history.
Held at Manhattanandrsquo;s 69th Regiment Armory in 1913, the show brought modernism to America in an unprecedented display of 1300 works by artists including Picasso, Matisse, and Duchamp, A quarter of a million Americans visited the show; most couldnandrsquo;t make sense of what they were seeing. Newspaper critics questioned the artistsandrsquo; sanity. A popular rumor held that the real creator of one abstract canvas was a donkey with its tail dipped in paint.
The Armory Show went on to Boston and Chicago and its effects spread across the country. American artists embraced a new spirit of experimentation as conservative art institutions lost all influence. New modern art galleries opened to serve collectors interested in buying the most progressive works. Over time, the stage was set for American revolutionaries such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. Today, when museums of modern and contemporary art dot the nation and New York reigns as art capital of the universe, we live in a world created by the Armory Show.
Elizabeth Lunday, author of the breakout hit Secret Lives of Great Artists, tells the story of the exhibition from the perspectives of organizers, contributors, viewers, and critics. Brimming with fascinating and surprising details, the book takes a fast-paced tour of life in America and Europe, peering into Gertrude Steinandrsquo;s famous Paris salon, sitting in at the fabulous parties of New York socialites, and elbowing through the crowds at the Armory itself.
“Combing through vast research and archival materials, the author has managed to distill the essence of the 1913 Armory Show and presents her findings in a style and manner that is very accessible. Not only well researched and well written, it is also a splendid romp across the art world of the twentieth century…Lunday captures it all in a succinct and, at times, witty voice.“ - Laurette McCarthy, Art historian and author of Walter Pach (1883-1958): The Armory Show and the Untold Story of Modern Art in America
andldquo;A vivid, compelling portrait of the Armory Show and its lasting influence on American art.andrdquo; andndash; Kirkus Reviews
andquot;It is not often that writings on art serve to pump up readers the way a locker room speech might, leaving them primed to charge back out into the world ready to topple the old and usher in the new. But so it goes with The Modern Art Invasion...Lunday has a strong narrative at her back here, and she wisely lets this rip-snorting tale have its head... - Theand#160;Bostonand#160;Globe
andldquo;The Modern Art Invasion ultimately uses the famous 193 exhibition as a lens through which to view art history going back more than a century. The author has fit into this trim volume a world of insight, interesting life stories and plenty of art history. Itandrsquo;s a fun read and essential to anyone interested in learning how American art of the 20th century came to be.andrdquo; -and#160;The Patriot Ledger
andldquo;Brilliantly chronicles the American art world's fateful collision with European Modernism and the game-changing innovations of Picasso, Matisse, and Duchamp at the famed Armory Show of 1913. Following the lives of Walt Kuhn, Arthur B. Davies, and the show's other organizers, Lunday captures the sights and sounds of the era as well as the intellectual and social background behind the Armory Show's genesis in this must-read account of a truly pivotal moment in art history.andquot; - Jonathan Lopez, author of The Man who Made Vermeers
andquot;Elizabeth Lunday gives a lively and often humorous introduction to the world of modern art through the lives, ambitions and rivalries of the outsized personalities involved in the landmark Armory Show. She also offers a fascinating assessment of the legacies of the exhibition that caused such a seismic shift in American culture - one whose shocks, she shows, are still being felt and absorbed a century later.andquot; -and#160;and#160; Ross King, author of Leonardo and the Last Supper and Michelangelo and the Popeandrsquo;s Ceiling
andquot;A lusciously detailed, highly readable account of the dazzling visual explosion that confronted the American world at the first modern art exhibition in New York in 1913. Peopled by fascinating personalities like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin and the hostile critics who greeted their masterpieces as andlsquo;sheer insanity.andrsquo; This powerfully told story reveals why art matters.andquot; -- Anne-Marie O'Connor, author of The Lady in Gold, the Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer
andldquo;Combing through vast research and archival materials, the author has managed to distill the essence of the 1913 Armory Show and presents her findings in a style and manner that is very accessible.and#160; Not only well researched and well written, it is also a splendid romp across the art world of the twentieth centuryandhellip;Lunday captures it all in a succinct and, at times, witty voice.andldquo; - Laurette McCarthy, Art historian and author of Walter Pach (1883-1958): The Armory Show and the Untold Story of Modern Art in America
The story behind the 1913 Armory Show, the most important art exhibit in U.S. history. Held a century ago, in the winter of 1913, the show brought Modernism to America in an unprecedented display of 1300 works by artists including Picasso, Matisse, and Duchamp. Drawing from primary sources and setting the Armory Show into the context of American culture just before World War I, the book brings the exhibition and its era to vivid life.
About the Author
Elizabeth Lunday is the author of Secret Lives of Great Composers and Secret Lives of Great Artists, which has sold over 25,000 copies and been translated into eight languages. She wrote mental_flossand#8217;s and#8220;Masterpiecesand#8221; column for six years, has written for ScientificAmerican.com and has appeared on PRIand#8217;s and#8220;Here and Now.and#8221;