Becoming Modern: Armory Show Artists at the MAG

January 25-May 12, 2013


Gaston Lachaise, Standing Woman (1917). Gift of Charlotte Whitney Allen.

In 1913 the Armory Show in New York City shocked American artists and audiences with the radical abstractions of the European modernists. Later that year the Memorial Art Gallery opened its doors in Rochester, a city of predominantly conservative tastes at the time.

The Armory Show refers to the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors. The exhibition ran in New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, from February 17 until March 15, and became an important event in the history of American art, introducing astonished New Yorkers, accustomed to realistic art to modern art. The show served as a catalyst for American artists, who became more independent and created their own “artistic language”.

On the 100th anniversary of both events, this exhibition at the MAG will explore how the Gallery’s history and collection have been shaped by the avant-garde art in the Armory Show and the Rochesterians who came to champion it. It will include over 35 paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture by modernist masters including Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Stuart Davis and John Marin.




Some artists who exhibited in the original Armory show in 1913.

European Artists




American Artists