Modern Art USA: Men, Rebellion, Conquest, 1900-1956

By Rudi Blesh | Go to book overview

5. Aftermath

The Armory Show closed on the eve of St. Patrick's Day, 1913. "It was the wildest, maddest, most intensely excited crowd . . . I have witnessed," wrote Jerome Myers. It was the biggest crowd of all, too. From dusty subway-riders to the cream of society, all came, as though to say farewell to a friend. Reporters elbowed through the throngs, and suddenly the Fighting Irish band burst into a Sousa march. It was late at night when the last visitors straggled out. The band was beckoned down from the balcony, and the artists and their girls, as if in Montmartre, fell in behind, marching from room to room. Then outdoors to the pavements, a carnival let loose on gray Lexington Avenue. Back in again--and from behind Bellows's burlap walls came champagne. Corks popped and the band went into a waltz. As the couples whirled around the floor, deliriously gay, toasts were offered and drunk amid cheers.

"To the Academy!" shouted an artist derisively.

John Quinn smiled. "No, no," he said. "Don't you remember Captain John Philip of the Texas? When his guns sank a Spanish ship at Santiago, he said: 'Don't cheer, boys, the poor devils are dying.'"

All through the night the band played without pay. The Irish regiment, from Colonel Conley down to the last private, was vastly impressed by the success of the show. Not to mention John Quinn, special ornament of the Sons of Erin. Stuart Davis, at least, was not particularly surprised at this. He had previously, as a joke, taken his favorite Irish bartender from Newark to see the famous Nude on her staircase. Completely oblivious of the laughter all around, the Irishman took his time. He studied the picture carefully from every angle, and then said to all who cared to listen: "Paint like

-57-

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Modern Art USA: Men, Rebellion, Conquest, 1900-1956
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • 1. the World Stirs in Its Sleep 3
  • 2. Home Life on the Other Side of the Moon 9
  • 3. Plot in an Attic 23
  • 4. Rebellion in an Amory 41
  • 5. Aftermath 57
  • 6. Independents' Day 68
  • 7. Dada and Despair 85
  • 8. Modern Art's First Museum 103
  • 9. Art in a Skyscraper 114
  • 10. the Artist is the Man Next Door 131
  • Ii. Passage to Permanence 145
  • 12. Termite, Time Capsule, and Pedestal 162
  • 13. Isms and Wasms 185
  • 15. Go West, Young Art, Go West 222
  • 16. Arriving 241
  • 17. Presences 262
  • 18. the Present 282
  • Index i
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