Past Exhibitions:

1913 Armory Show, New York

Lauded as one of the most influential events in the history of American art, the Armory Show has a mythic legacy that rivals the raucous opening of Igor Stravinsky's ballet, The Rite of Spring in Paris. In the wake of previous large independent art exhibitions in France, Germany, Italy, and England, from February 17th to March 15th, 1913, New York's 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th streets was home to approximately 1250 paintings, sculptures, and decorative works by over 300 European and American artists. While the purchase of Cézanne's Hill of the Poor by the Metropolitan Museum of Art signaled an integration of modernism into official art channels, the shock and outrage proported from Duchamp's Nude Descending the Staircase and Matisse's Luxuryconnected the Armory Show, officially known as The International Exhibition of Modern Art, with an historic avant-garde whose duty was to question the boundaries of art as an institution.

Many exhibitions have been held in the vast spaces of U.S. National Guard armories, but the Armory Show refers to the International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors and opened in New York City's 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, on February 17, 1913, ran to March 15, and became a legendary watershed date 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".

Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC

1912 Corcoran Biennial Exhibition

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts


Society of Independent Artists

2003 University of Rochester Hartnett Gallery

Hartnett Gallery Spotlights the Art of Kathleen McEnery
The University of Rochester's Hartnett Gallery will present an exhibition of the work of Kathleen McEnery, an early 20th century artist who made her name in New York City before coming to Rochester, beginning Monday, March 17, during Women's History Month. The show will continue through Saturday, April 26, with an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, March 21.
A realist painter, McEnery (1885-1971) studied with artist Robert Henri of the American Ashcan school of painters. Her work appeared in New York City shows beside that of Henri and other notable artists including Stuart Davis, George Bellows, Edward Hooper, Leon Droll, John Sloan, and Andrew Dasburg. She also exhibited in the controversial International Exhibition of Modern Art- "The Armory Show"- in 1913, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, and the Corcoran Biennial Exhibition. Both her training and participation in the art community secured her place in American art circles.
McEnery moved to Rochester in 1914 after marrying into the Cunningham family, owners of the Cunningham car factory. Residing at 10 South Goodman St., now part of the Rochester Museum and Science Center, she actively entered Rochester cultural life. From 1927 until her death in 1971, she served on the Memorial Art Gallery Board of Managers. She was also a founding faculty member of Rochester's Harley School and belonged to the Chatterbox Club and the Eastman Theater's Corner Club.
Exhibit curator Janet Wolff, currently associate dean at Columbia University School of the Arts, was formerly a University of Rochester professor of art history. Wolff's professional studies have included a focus on McEnery's life and work, and the exhibit catalogue features some of her essays. Wolff will also give a public lecture on McEnery's art at the Memorial Art Gallery at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24. Because limited exhibition during her lifetime left McEnery's career largely unacknowledged, exhibit sponsors hope that the exhibition and related events will spark new discussions about her art and contributions to 20th century culture.
This exhibit is sponsored by the University of Rochester Students' Association, the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies, the Department of Art and Art History, and the Program in Visual and Cultural Studies.

2005 Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art

Forgotten Women Redefine Modern Art
“Thoroughly Modern” comes to BYU Museum of Art
by Maria Molina
Brigham Young University’s (BYU) Museum of Art celebrated the opening of an exhibition that is the first of its kind. Thoroughly Modern: The “New Women” Art Students of Robert Henri presented art- work from thirty-one of Henri’s women students whose achievements are being recognized for the first time in art history.1
Considered the most influential art teacher of his era (1890s–1920s), Henri encouraged his students to find their own style and break away from tradition. Through art, he wanted them to capture life. In Henri’s own words: “The thing to do is for each individual to wake up, to dis- cover himself, as a human being . . . to look about, learn from all sources, look within, and find if he can invent for him- self a vehicle for his self expression.”2 Students in Henri’s art classes let natural talent flow freely. In addition to painting and drawing, these women expressed indi- viduality through sculpture, furniture, and fashion design.3As a result of Henri’s encouragement, his students portrayed their personal beliefs in an era of changing technology and socialattitudes. The advancements of the day inspired them; the harnessing of electricity and the invention of the automobile, as well as the construction of skyscrapers, were depicted through their art. The liberalizationand changing role of women as a result of the women’s suffrage movement were also evident—they portrayed women as strong and independent. Another factor that influ- enced their art was the growing ethnic diver- sity due to the high immigration rate into the United States from the late 19th to the early 20th century.4
With the “discovery” of their art, mod- ern art has been redefined. Since the 1950s, it has been widely known as abstract, like the works of Pablo Picasso.5 However, the work of these women and Henri, their teacher, proved that much of the art from the early 1900s, was expres- sive of everyday life and people. Cheryll May, an educator at the Museum of Art, explained, “During the last ten years there has been a new movement to reclaim women who were cast in the shadow after World War II when theorists wrote women out of art history.”6 Through this exhibi- tion, the art world “reclaims” these women and their contributions to modern art.
Thoroughly Modern is a product of four years of hard work. Marian Wardle, curator of the exhibition along with BYU art students who served as research assis- tants, collected information about Henri’s women students’ personal achievements. After strenuous research, the lives and artwork of 441 of these women werediscovered. Over 200 of them had pursued professional art careers and made signifi- cant contributions to the world of art.7 Nathan Reese, an art history graduate stu- dent at BYU and research assistant for the exhibition, expressed that through his work he got to know these women and felt grateful to have been part of unveiling the achievements of these female artists.8 A compilation of short biographies on these women and essays by various scholars was recently published in a book titled American Women Modernists: The Legacy of Robert Henri, 1910–1945.9
These “new women” were pivotal in spreading Henri’s philosophy of express- ing individuality through art. They taught in art schools, founded art programs, and displayed their art in many exhibitions, including the 1913 Armory Show, the most recognized art exhibition during the 1900s in the United States.10 After almost one hundred years since their artistic careers and contributions, Thoroughly Modern recognizes Henri’s women students and writes them back into art history.
1. Marian Wardle, interview by author, Provo, Utah, February 25, 2005.
2. Robert Henri, The Art Spirit, comp., Margery Ryerson (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1923), 211.
3. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, “Thoroughly Modern,” press release, January 10, 2005.
4. Ibid. 5. Chris Wilson, e-mail to the author, May 4, 2005. 6. Cheryll May, interview by author, Provo, Utah,February 25, 2005. 7. See note 3.
8. Nathan Reese, interview by author, Provo, Utah, February 25, 2005.
9. Chris Wilson, e-mail to the author, April 26, 2005. 10. See note 3.

Eagle’s Eye • August 2005