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American Modernism. Armory Show Chicago, 1913. Paul Cézanne Four Bathers 1879-1882. Pablo Picasso Woman with Mustard Pot 1910. Marcel Duchamp Nude Descending a Staircase 1912. Seeing New York with a Cubist The Rude Descending a Staircase (Rush Hour at the Subway) 1913.

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american modernism

American Modernism

Armory Show

Chicago, 1913

Paul Cézanne

Four Bathers


Pablo Picasso

Woman with Mustard Pot


Marcel Duchamp

Nude Descending a Staircase


Seeing New York with a Cubist

The Rude Descending a Staircase (Rush Hour at the Subway)


Henri Matisse

Le Luxe II


american modernism had to deal with

American ModernismHad to Deal With

The Place of Internationalism

The Schematic


What does it mean to be new?

  • Optimism
  • A little uncivilized

“Step In! No Danger! Cubist Show Now On!”

  • "Remember, this is the uncensored sho. It's there--there--there--on the inside, ladies and gentlemen. It's continuous. It's different, and it's art--art of the present and the future. A thrill every minute. Something new to tickle the fancy and feast the eye."
  • That was all that was needed--just a real old-fashioned bally-ho at the head of the marble staircase in [the] Art Institute yesterday--to make the first-time visitor to the international exhibition of modern art believe he had done a Rip Van Winkle act and awakened in the old Clark Street Museum.

Chicago Record-Herald, March 25, 1913

chicago evening post march 24 1913
Chicago Evening Post March 24, 1913

Colonel Henry Clay Medders of Kentucky in the Big City

“Let’s see now. I had two small ones before breakfast and—”

three modes of interaction
Three modes of interaction
  • Parody
  • The law
  • Obscenity
Alexander Archipenko

Le Repos


underlying issues
Underlying Issues
  • Spectacle
  • Primitivism
  • Difficulty
  • Mimesis
modernism as a deliberate break
Modernism As a Deliberate Break

Moment of modernism was unmistakable

Shaken faith in traditional modes

Implications of this break

Self-conscious modernism

three sites of struggle
Three sites of struggle
  • Professionalism
  • Public culture
  • Modes of coping
  • Definitions
  • Specialization and technical innovation
  • Self consciousness
  • Rise of difficulty
public culture
Public Culture
  • Mass culture
  • Urbanization
  • Democratization
  • The avant-garde
modes of coping
Modes of Coping
  • Finding order
  • Subject/object and representation
  • Romanticist or Classicist?