One century ago this year, the floodgates of modern art were opened by three artists: Arthur B. Davies, Walter Pach and Walt Kuhn. One year before, they had formed an artist-run coalition—the Association of American Painters—and in February of 1913, the organization mounted its first show, The International Exhibition of Modern Art. Today we know the event largely by the nickname it garnered from the show’s location: The Armory Show. And the rest, it seems, is modern art history.
Yet if Davies, Pach and Kuhn were paling around today and happened to stumble into next week’s Armory Fair, the highly publicized 100-year-anniversary-show opening March 7th, they would likely feel frightfully lost. The name may be the same, but the original spirit of spontaneity and experimentation is largely gone.