It’s been one hundred years since the Armory Show. Definitely on my short list of if-you-could-go-back-in-time hypotheticals.
But did you know that the Armory Show wasn’t all shock and fragmentation? The 18 octagonal galleries served as a visual timeline through mid-19th century art up to the modern. It was an attempt to place modernism in a time and a tradition—not wildly outside of it, as we have been taught.
Did you know that roughly half of the works were by Americans? The story of the Armory Show is often a stranger-came-to-town tale in which Marcel Duchamp offends the entire continent before we sluggishly join the new.
Did you know that 20% of those American works were by women artists?
Don’t take my word for it. If you’d like to reframe what your Survey of Art class told you in college, read Refuting the Myths About the Armory Show over at ARTnews.
Ann Hamilton. Privation & Excesses. 1989.
A man sits in a chair across a sea of 750,000 pennies embedded in honey. The viewer may watch him from the street but the viewer is also watched by two peering sheep with their own room and their own view. Two motorized mortar & pestles set to grinding. One pennies, the other teeth.
Included by Hamilton in the listed materials: a gesture.
He dips his hands in a felt hat filled with honey. Smell of copper smell of clover. What is metallic and unyielding. What is sweet.
1928 snapshot of Magritte and his wife, Georgette, re-creating the scene from La Tentative de l’Impossible.
Jose Manuel Ballester - Place for a Birth.
Botticelli painted Birth of Venus in 1486. It is worth asking what time has done to the landscape of love. To say nothing of painting.
If love is a woman then she can walk away anytime she likes. If love is an allegory then it was always made of other things. Allegory: the word means “other assembly.” Maybe you were seafoam maybe you were pigment.
Sometimes absence is the realest. It maintains itself.
As striking as these pictures are, it is totally inappropriate and deplorable to glamourize the suicides of women writers in a fashion spread. This is not about art or pathos or desperation. It is about clothes. Sanmao’s portrait, in which she hangs herself with stockings, is just conscientious enough to include the fashion credits for the tights.
Susan Rothenberg. Chix. 2003
There were few slow things left in the world. One had to go to the jungle to see the sloth with its smiling lethargy and hooks. Even the glaciers had dispensed with pace, choosing to disappear quickly instead of the usual creep across the ages.
Had it started with the engine or the horse? This breathless beating of blood. A globe turning so that land and sea are an unblemished blue. Because there was so much speed and such a dearth of stillness,
she decided not to fall in love but walk slowly toward it.
The Night of the Hunter (1955) is stark, strange, at times an incoherent film. But there are scenes throughout—especially the river scenes—where austerity and lyricism meet. Moments like this, the film reveals itself as a film and the story as a story. Even so: the artifice is so alluring that you choose to linger. Stay a while.