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Bringing Modern Art to America
If one painting could be said to have brought Modern Art to America, it would have to have to be Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase #2. Painted in 1912 and first exhibited at the Armory Show in New York shortly thereafter, it sparked a firestorm of criticism and outrage. A critic referred to it as, "...an explosion in a shingle factory." President Teddy Roosevelt compared it unfavourably to a Navajo rug he owned, and a cartoonist mocked it with a similar rendering of New York commuters descending into a subway with: "The rude descending a staircase".

Nonetheless, the painting sold. Today it can be seen in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Contributed by Lane, Jim
16 October 1997

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