In 1913, the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan hosted what was then considered the most shocking art exhibition the public had ever seen. The International Exhibition of Modern Art, which came to be called The Armory Show, introduced modern European art to an East Coast audience. A showcase of -ism art movements then in development and exploration by artists now considered masters of their craft, the event was transgressive; it induced backlash from several publications and from former President Theodore Roosevelt who commented that “the lunatic fringe was fully in evidence.”
Yet, even in his blatant dislike of the artworks displayed, President Roosevelt admitted the importance of the show’s existence, its revelation of the European “art forces that cannot be ignored.” This Saturday, September 28, in a centennial homage of the show that shocked the American world, the Architectural League of New York is hosting their annual Beaux Arts Ball in the same venue. Taking inspiration from a space originally meant for National Guard trainings and military activities, the ball will work with and within the great hall to transform its appearance, shockingly. (And tickets are on sale now!)
Designed in 1903 by the architecture competition-winning firm Hunt & Hunt, the 69th Regiment Armory reflects the Beaux Arts style, featuring a sweeping hall with exposed interior structure and a symmetrical brick façade covering its exterior. According to Situ Studio, the environment created for Arch League’s 2013 Beaux Arts Ball will feature “an array of tensegrity structures that will rise above and dip below and existing cable grid datum 20 feet overhead.” This array includes an artistic matrix of sculptural, yet lightweight, fabric shapes that will float above partygoers. Accompanied by responsive lighting by Renfro Design Group, a performance of huge Processional Arts Workshop puppets, and sound installation by Nathan Halpern, the event will recreate the 28,000 square feet civic space as a completely different environment, a modern version of the inflammatory Armory Show that transpired there a century ago.
Celebrate your favorite -ism at the party of the year.
The Architectural League of New York’s 2013 Beaux Arts Ball
September 28, 2013
9:00PM – 1:00AM
69th Regiment Armory at Lexington Avenue
New York City
For tickets, go to: archleague.org/2013/09/beaux-arts-ball-2013