Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont will host a screening of the new documentary “The Great Confusion: The 1913 Armory Show,” produced by 217 Films, on Sunday, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m.
The film highlights the historic and controversial International Exhibition of Modern Art, located in a New York City armory in 1913. Known simply as the “Armory Show,” the exhibition changed the face of art in America, giving many Americans their first taste of a new, revolutionary kind of art.
“The more we dug deeply into the history of the Armory Show,” said the film’s director, Michael Maglaras, who also wrote the film and narrates it, “the more it became clear to us that, with this exhibition focused on ‘the new,’ we had truly entered the American century: the century of our greatest achievements as a nation and the beginning of our preeminence on the world stage.”
From February 17 until March 15, 1913, Americans by the thousands pushed their way through the doors of the 69th Regiment Armory to experience “Modern Art” for the first time. What they saw annoyed and infuriated some, and captivated, delighted and inspired many.
President Theodore Roosevelt, upon visiting the exhibition, called the most modern of these works “repellent.” That was just the beginning of the controversy surrounding this historic exhibition.
What resulted from these four weeks of mass exposure to European artists such as Cézanne, Renoir, Van Gogh and the upstart Marcel Duchamp with his “Nude Descending a Staircase”—as well as such Americans as Marsden Hartley, John Marin, and Charles Sheeler—changed how Americans came to understand their own times.
“The Great Confusion: The 1913 Armory Show” features works by more than 60 American and European painters and sculptors. The film probes deeply into the history of how the show was organized; examines the critical efforts of American artists such as Arthur B. Davies, Walter Pach, and Walt Kuhn; and explores the impact that the show had on collectors of art as well as ordinary citizens.
For more information, call Gari Melchers Home and Studio at (540) 654-1015 or go to garimelchers.umw.edu.