To honor the centennial of the historic 1913 Armory Show, New York–area cultural institutions are partnering with the fair to host special exhibitions and programming to highlight that watershed moment in the rise of modernism. The presentations include works from the original Armory Show, as well as contemporary artists working in the tradition of the 20th-century avant-garde. Here’s what to see.
Abrons Arts Center, Henry Street Settlement, “Decenter: An Exhibition on the Centenary of the 1913 Armory Show,” through April 7
Curated by Andrianna Campbell and Daniel S. Palmer, the show at the Abrons Arts Center brings together 27 emerging and established contemporary artists whose work continues the legacy of the 1913 avant-garde. Cory Arcangel and Armory commissioned artist Liz Magic Laser explore the fusion of the physical and digital worlds in their work, playing off early cubist and abstract manifestos.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “African Art, New York and the Avant-Garde,” through September 2
African artifacts had an undeniable influence on cubism and abstraction at the beginning of the 20th century. This comparative exhibition will show nearly 40 wood sculptures from West and Central Africa alongside works they inspired.
Driscoll Babcock Galleries at The Armory Show, March 7–10
New York’s oldest gallery is dedicating its booth to the centennial by juxtaposing the inaugural fair’s artists with next-generation modernists. The 1913 artists include Marsden Hartley, Charles Sheeler, and Stuart Davis. Representing the contemporary continuation of their work are pieces by Willem de Kooning, Will Barnet, Marylyn Dintenfass, and Jenny Morgan.
The Museum of Modern Art, “Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925,” through April 15
MOMA’s exhibition takes a look at the origins of abstraction and begins with the work of Francis Picabia in Europe. The show traces the movement’s rise in popularity among artists like Hartley and Marcel Duchamp. It explores abstraction in various forms, from painting and drawing to music and film. The museum has also created an interactive website that allows viewers to make connections between artists and mediums.
The New-York Historical Society, “The Armory Show at 100,” October 11, 2013–February 23, 2014
The show takes a broader approach than some of the other centennial exhibitions by highlighting the historical context of New York in 1913. “It’s interesting how the 1913 show has been interpreted over time,” said co-curator Kimberly Orcutt. “We wanted to strip that mythology back and include some surprises in the form of works by artists who were significant then but are lesser-known now.” While the exhibition will not be open until October, the museum has already launched an online show at www.armory.nyhistory.org that lets anyone view artworks, read about 1913 New York, explore historical documents, and follow curators’ blogs.
Watch video of "The New Spirit, American Art in The Armory Show, 1913" at the Montclair NJ Art Museum through June 16: