Armory Week 2016 Retrospective

Intelligent Interest in American ‘Moderns’: An Armory Show Competitor Arises, in 1916


The 2015 Armory Show.


As Armory Week wages on, we turn back to the March 11, 1916, issue of ARTnews, in which an article detailed a competitor of the original Armory Show (which today’s eponymous event pays tribute to). While the Armory Show was believed to have empowered European modernism, this new show, the Forum exhibition at the Anderson Galleries, was seen as a place for American modernism to thrive. Artists it showed included Thomas Hart Benton, Man Ray, and Charles Sheeler. Below is the ARTnews coverage of the Forum exhibition.

“‘Armory Show’ in Petto”

The Forum exhibition of Modern American Painters will open next Monday at the Anderson Galleries. The exhibition is not a commercial enterprise, and the only beneficiaries will be the artists themselves. The entire expenses are met by the Anderson Galleries, and the committee composed of Christian Brinton, W.H. de B. Nelson, Robert Henri, Alfred Stieglitz, John Weichsel and Willard Hungtington Wright are giving their time and services free. The undertaking is a philanthropic one, and its object is to give a large number of conscientious and deserving modern American painters an opportunity of reaching the public in a large and comprehensive manner, without any commercial intermediary.

The entire top floor of the Anderson Galleries will be hung with over 200 pictures by the more modern American painters, and some twenty artists are represented.

The exhibition will represent the largest collection of the new art works ever shown in this country, with the exception of the Armory show. But the Forum display has a more intimate interest for this country, inasmuch as it comprises only American work; and this work has been critically selected with great care and consideration by the Committee, the members of which represent many divergent tastes.,

It is often difficult for the very advanced painters to get a fair and adequate showing and often native artists suffer as a result of commercial discrimination. It is to overcome this injustice that the exhibition has been inaugurated, By thus attempting to differentiate between the sincere and insincere paintings of the new movement, the Committee hopes to stimulate intelligent interest in the excellent work of the American “moderns.”

The artists represented will be Ben Benn, Thomas H. Benton, Oscar Bluemner, Andrew Dashburg, Arthur G. Dove, Marsden Hartley, S. Macdonald-Wright, John Marin, Henry L. McFee, George F. Of, Man Ray, Morgan Russell, Charles Sheeler, A. Walkowitz and William and Marguerite Zorach.

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