Highlights among the 300 objects in Revolution! include:
- the original Stamp Act, as it was passed by Parliament in 1765 setting off the riots that led to the American Revolution, on loan from the Parliamentary Archives, London, displayed for the first time outside the U.K.
- Sea Captains Carousing in Surinam (oil on canvas, 1752–1758, by John Greenwood), the first genre painting in American art history, on loan from the Saint Louis Art Museum, illustrating the sort of tavern where discontent brewed in the Atlantic world, in an 18th-century version of “social networking”
- a first edition of Thomas Paine’s epoch-making pamphlet "Common Sense" (1776), from the collection of the New-York Historical Society
- an elegant mahogany desk from the first capitol of the United States, Federal Hall in lower Manhattan (c. 1788, New-York Historical Society): the first example of a legislator’s desk in Anglo-American history
- the “Africa Box” filled with impressive craftworks and agricultural products from Africa (ca. 1785, on loan from the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, U.K.), used by Abolitionist Thomas Clarkson in his lectures against slavery, and never before exhibited outside the U.K.
- Vue de l'incendie de la ville du Cap Français (1795, by J.B. Chapuy, Archives départementales de la Martinique), a fine example of the sort of engraving that brought impressions of the Haiti uprising to an international public
- Napoleon’s authorization to French negotiators to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States (1803, New-York Historical Society), as a direct consequence of the Haitian rebellion
- the only known surviving copy of the first printing of the Haitian Declaration of Independence (1804, National Archives, London), recently discovered and exhibited here to the public for the first time
- a wooden model of the slave ship Brookes, produced for the French revolutionary leader Mirabeau, intended to be used as a prop in the National Assembly’s debate on ending slavery in France (1789, Bibliothèque nationale de France)
- Thomas Jefferson’s copy of Notes on the State of Virginia, his only book, inscribed to the Abbé Morellet, and used by the latter to make the first French translation (1785, New York Public Library)
- a second-century C.E. Roman marble bust of a young man wearing a Phrygian (or “liberty”) cap, which became an inspiration for one of the great symbols of the revolutionary era (Bibliothèque nationale de France)
- three superb vodou sculptures, produced by secret societies in Haiti that were established during the Haitian Revolution (early twentieth century, La Fondation pour la Préservation, la Valorisation et la Production d'Oeuvres Culturelles Haïtiennes)
- Anne-Louis Girodet’s magnificent portrait of the great Saint-Domingue military and political leader Jean-Baptiste Belley, the “most important image of a black revolutionary” (1797, Musée National du Château de Versailles)
- a seven-foot-long “carcan” or leg-yoke, used to shackle five captives together, taken from a French slave ship (ca. 1800, Bibliothèque nationale de France)
- and many examples of the broadsides, pamphlets and political and satirical cartoons that spread, and reflected, revolutionary fervor throughout the period.
With texts and audio guides in English, French and Haitian Krèyol, the exhibition unfolds in galleries inventively designed to evoke varied gathering places, such as a baroque palace, a portside tavern and a rural Haitian lakou: sites where people of the era felt and shared the “common wind” of political information and opinion. Within these galleries, visitors will encounter magnificent paintings, drawings and prints from collections in a dozen countries; historical documents, maps and manuscripts from the hands of participants in these revolutions; audiovisual presentations and interactive learning stations; and curriculum materials for students from kindergarten through graduate school.
Richard Rabinowitz, founder and president of American History Workshop, serves as chief exhibition curator. Lynda B. Kaplan acted as curatorial director and media producer. Thomas Bender of New York University and Laurent Dubois of Duke University have served as the co-chief historians for Revolution!, drawing on the scholarship of an advisory committee of distinguished historians and specialists. Click here to watch Richard Rabinowitz and Laurent Dubois discuss the landmark exhibition.
This exhibition is made possible with grant funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Education Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural (URR) program, and the Ford Foundation. Additional support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and The Nathan Cummings Foundation.
The Armory Show at 100 features approximately 100 masterworks from the 1913 Armory Show that powerfully impacted American audiences. The exhibition includes American and European paintings and sculpture that will represent the scandalous avant-garde and the range of early twentieth-century American art. It will also include historical works (dating through the nineteenth century) that the original organizers gathered in an effort to show the progression of modern art leading up to the controversial abstract works that have become the Armory Show’s hallmark.
The 2013 exhibition revisits the Armory Show from an art-historical point of view, shedding new light on the artists represented and how New Yorkers responded. It will also place this now-legendary event within the context of its historical moment in the United States and the milieu of New York City in ca. 1911–1913. To that end, music, literature and early film will be considered, as well as the political and economic climate.
The exhibition will not travel. It will be accompanied by a substantial catalogue with thirty-one essays by prominent scholars from a variety of fields to re-examine the 1913 exhibition and its historical and cultural context.
For the first time, the New-York Historical Society will offer timed ticketing for the exhibition The Armory Show at 100. Visitors will be able to buy advance tickets online for specific time slots up to 30 days in advance. Tickets go on sale September 12 and include entrance to the exhibition as well as all-day admission to the museum.
New-York Historical Society members can skip the line and enter at any time. No need to reserve your ticket in advance!
The New-York Historical Society recognizes lead sponsors Harold J. and Ruth Newman for their exceptional commitment to The Armory Show at 100.
Generous support has also been provided by Roger and Susan Hertog, the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., The Paul E. Singer Foundation, and Sherry Brous and Douglas Oliver.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Exhibitions at the New-York Historical Society are made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.