Forum Exhibition

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An exhibition arranged in New York in 1916 by the critic Willard Huntington Wright with the support of the magazine Forum, to which he was a regular contributor. The purpose of the exhibition was to pinpoint the best of American modernist painting in order to convince the public that it could stand up to the European avant-garde, which had made a big impact at the Armory Show three years earlier. Both Robert Henri and Alfred Stieglitz were on the selection committee. The exhibition consisted of about 200 pictures by seventeen artists, including Benton (ironically, later a vociferous enemy of modern art), Dove, Macdonald-Wright (Wright's brother), Marin, Sheeler, and Zorach. Anticipating that some of the work on show might be too advanced for public taste, Wright wrote in the catalogue: ‘Not one man represented in this exhibition is either a charlatan or a maniac’, and he vigorously defended abstraction, with its ‘inherent aesthetic qualities of order, rhythm, composition, and form’.

Subjects: Art.

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