The Armory Show of 1913
by Rhonda Roland Shearer
"CUBIST ART IS HERE AS CLEAR AS MUD," the Chicago Herald-Tribune blasted in 1913. Chicagoans did not understand the new, European modernist art any more than New Yorkers did when the famous Armory Show arrived that same year. It is easy to forget that futurist, cubist and post-impressionist art once provoked a reaction similar to the recent Brooklyn "Sensation Exhibition" sensation. Rudy Giuliani is only a mayor creating a fuss after all. When the Armory Show hit the Big Apple, former President Teddy Roosevelt weighed in by writing that Duchamp's Nude Descending looked to him like a Navajo Indian rug. See Choi and Shearer's Animation #4 which attempts to visualize for the Tout-Fait reader this "bully for you" former president's intrepretation of Duchamp's work. Choi and Shearer hope that the three newspaper cartoons when transformed into animations will give spectators (Duchamp's word) a more enlivened sense of the public's reaction and commentary than what is normally rendered by static, historical images.
For example, in Animation 1,2 and 3, spectators will find, respectively, the moving confusion of a crowded subway escalator filled with rude New Yorkers; the prototype of bad boy cubists (which is a quilt making Grandma); and a frustrated New York gent literally flipping his "lid" and standing on his head but still not "getting" it. Finally, Alverez and Shearer's development of Animation 5 -- using the classic Armory still photo showing old cars and horse carriages waiting for patrons to return from seeing the scandal -- takes advantage of the latest in animation technology and after-effects to emphasize what we most forget when we now look at modernist works: it was a much different "high button shoe/top hat world" in 1913 when Duchamp`s works first came to town..."Hey watch the horse shit."