09 October 2009

Art in the media

We all know how badly art is treated by the media: all braying donkeys and piles of rubbish and my five year old could do that. However, it didn't always be that way. About a hundred years ago, the media had a lively interest in contemporary art.

During the Armory Show in 1913, Francis Picabia was the representative of the French avant-garde in New York. One art historian has counted more than a thousand references to Picabia in the local media during the Armory Show and Picabia's one-man show at the 291 Gallery, which opened two days after the Armory finished.

The Armory Show opened on 17 February 1913. The day before it opened, the New York Times devoted a page to Picabia under the headline 'PICABIA, ART REBEL, HERE TO PRESENT THE NEW MOVEMENT'.

References in the press to Picabia include, but are not limited to, 21 January, New York Herald; 22 January, City New York American; 26 January, New York American; 2 February, Minneapolis Morning Tribune; 9 February, Nebraska Journal, Minneapolis Morning Tribune, World Magazine; 16 February, New York Times; 17 February, The World State; 20 February, New York American, New York Globe; 23 February, Kansas City, Chicago Tribune, New York Press, The Sun, Philadelphia Record; 1 March, Newark News; 3 March, The Sun; 8 March, Chicago Morning Post, New York Evening World; 9 March, New York Tribune; 14 March, City Tribune; 16 March, New Orleans Times, Philadelphia Inquirer; 17 March, Chicago Examiner, Hartford Daily Courant, New Bedford Mercury, Philadelphia Press; 18 March, New York Herald, New York Times, The Sun; 19 March, Chicago Examiner; 20 March, New York Edition, New York Mail; 22 March, Brooklyn Eagle, New York Post; 23 March, The World; 24 March, New York American; 25 March, Chicago Morning America, Chicago Tribune; 26 March, Nashville Democrat; 28 March, Chicago, Chicago Examiner, New York American; 30 March Atlantic Republican; 6 April, Minneapolis Tribune; 10 April, Brooklyn Eagle; 18 April, Brooklyn New York Times.

In the feature articles, Picabia sets out clearly his philosophy of totally abstract painting: Amorphism. 'Photography has been a great help in forcing art to realise its own nature, which does not consist in becoming a mirror to the external world but in conferring plastic reality on inner states of mind.'

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