Did you ever draw a timeline? Perhaps as part of an elementary school social studies lesson? I have vivid childhood memories of using a ruler and pencil to craft my own perfectly straight line, punctuated by those all-important dates copied out of a textbook. The appealing simplicity of timelines—chronology made visual—endures in an online age; witness the way Facebook has co-opted the term and the concept. But a case in point dearer to my heart is the new digital exhibition that the Archives launched last week, 1913 Armory Show: the Story in Primary Sources.
Created in honor of the centennial of the International Exhibition of Modern Art, the first major exhibition of European modern art in the United States, the site uses an extensive timeline centered on the Armory Show as its principal entry point for understanding how the historic exhibition came to be. All manner of century-old digitized letters, postcards, photos, diaries, and documents slide past on a horizontal scroll that carries you from December 1911, the earliest meetings of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors (the Armory Show’s organizing body) to the group’s dissolution in May 1914. The curated selection of documents from the show’s key organizers Arthur B. Davies, Walt Kuhn, and Walter Pach, among others, have been contextualized, categorized, and described with great dedication by the Archives of American Art’s staff.
- 1913 Armory Show: the Story in Primary Sources, digital timeline
- On the Anniversary of December 14th, by Kelly Quinn
- The Story of the Armory Show, online exhibition on the Archives of American Art's website
- A Century After Their Initial Publication, Rediscovered Installation Shots of the 1913 Armory Show Come to Light, by Laurette E. McCarthy
Sara Snyder is the Webmaster at the Archives of American Art.