April 11, 2014

University of Montevallo hosts Harvard Art Museums speaker

MONTEVALLO – The University of Montevallo will host Melissa Renn, senior curatorial research associate at Harvard Art Museums, as she presents “Beyond the ‘Shingle Factory’: The Armory Show in the Popular Press after 1913.” The lecture will be held Tuesday, April 15, at 4:30 p.m. in the Merchants and Planters Bank Auditorium in Humanities Hall on the UM campus. This event is free and open to the public as part of the Martha Allen Lecture Series in the Visual Arts and the UM Concert and Lecture Series.

In 1913, the Armory Show — officially titled the International Exhibition of Modern Art — introduced many Americans to avant-garde European art for the first time. The exhibition included works by Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, Constantin Brancusi, Paul Cezanne and Wassily Kandinsky, as well as by American artists. It inspired and shocked, offended and enthralled viewers.

While much has been written on the media coverage of the Armory Show in its opening year, to date there has been no comprehensive study of how the exhibition was discussed in the popular press in the following decades. Drawing on new archival research, Renn explores how the exhibition was portrayed in the American media after 1913. Looking closely at the many articles on the Armory Show published in periodicals such as Life, Time and Vogue from the 1930s through to the 1970s, this historiographical study compares the varied ways the exhibition was represented in the popular press, demonstrating the key role the media played in mythologizing and canonizing the Armory Show, along with shaping its legacy as a controversial, watershed event in the history of modern art.


Marsha Littleton
University Relations Department