Sunday, February 17, 2013

Today -100: February 17, 1913: Of peace, truces, hats in elevators, and the Armory Show

Woodrow Wilson is honorary president of the American Peace Society. I guess it’s like Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. Wilson hopes to attend their next congress in May. The American Peace Society was founded in 1828 and still exists but now seems to call itself... oh lord... The Human Club.

A 24-hour truce in the fighting in Mexico City did not last 24 hours. More like 6.

A letter to the NYT addresses the pressing question: does etiquette really require taking one’s hat off in an elevator when there are women present? “W.J.L.” asserts that it does not and that “Etiquette without a basis of reason is a relic of barbarism”.

The Armory Show, an exhibition of Cubist, Fauvist, Post-Impressionist and Futurist art, opens in NYC. 1,600 works of art by all the European biggies, but also many Americans. Important in introducing modern art to the backward Americans, some of whom were not ready for it. Teddy Roosevelt wandered around the exhibition, pointing and saying “That’s not art!” and reviewed it in The Outlook: “The Cubists are entitled to the serious attention of all who find enjoyment in the colored puzzle pictures of the Sunday newspapers.” “Probably we err in treating most of these pictures seriously. It is likely that many of them represent in the painters the astute appreciation of the powers to make folly lucrative which the late P. T. Barnum showed with his faked mermaid.”

The painting that became synonymous with the Armory Show: Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2).

The NYT is pretty sure the painting’s actually an elaborate practical joke. The Literary Digest printed letters to the editor about the exhibition from various newspapers.

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Anonymous said...

The American Peace Organization may have been soggy but was never the smarmy, religious cult, "The Human Club", that has registered the name for its website. According to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection which holds the real organization's records up to 1947, it still had offices, persumably under its original name, in Washington as of 2009.
Wikipedia may be useful, but it's not always completely accurate...

David Chappell said...

On the matter of hats in elevators: I was brought up in the days when it was still customary for both men and women to wear a hat. I was taught that a man always removed his hat when indoors (certain religious factions and functionaries excepted) therefore the question of a woman being present would be irrelevant - the hat would be off.