The Old Print Shop is currently hosting a modernism exhibition in our second floor gallery.

Modernism was the direct result of the industrializing world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Life was changing rapidly, and so, too, did art. Modernists sought new ways to capture the ever-changing world, its values and phycology. They wished to distance themselves from the constructs of the Victorian era. Artists discovered new techniques and materials and used them to create imagery that had never before been explored.

Modernism does not reflect any single style or idea. Instead, it is an umbrella term that encompasses many different art forms. Impressionism, cubism and precisionism are just a few of the branches held within Modernism. Although each of these artistic movements may appear different, they all share basic principles, such as innovation and experimentation: where artists played with things like color and shape to create new forms of imagery. They also share a dismissal of historical values. For centuries artists relied on religion, historical accounts, and ancient mythology to create art. Dismissing these values allowed artists to create in ways that would have never been socially acceptable beforehand.

And in many ways, they still shocked the world when they arrived.

The first major modern art and modernism show in America was the International Exhibition of Modern Art, also known as the Armory Show, in 1913. Held at the famed 69th Regiment Armory in New York City, the show helped popularize modernism in the United States. More than a thousand prints, paintings, sculptures, and other decorative works, produced by over 300 artists, were on display. John Marin was among the lineup. Ten of his watercolors were displayed at the Armory Show, four of which depicted the Woolworth Building. While it might not have been displayed at this historic event, Marin's etching "Woolworth Building, No. 2," which contains many similarities to his watercolors, is on display in our modernism exhibition. 

Please be sure to stop by to see this wonderful show in person.