Episode #1352

Culture Shock 1913

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Clockwise from top left: Igor Stravinsky; suffragettes photographed in 1913; Bicycle Wheel by Marcel Duchamp; detail from Woman with Pails: Dynamic Arrangement by Kazimir Malevich Clockwise from top left: Igor Stravinsky; suffragettes photographed in 1913; Bicycle Wheel by Marcel Duchamp; detail from Woman with Pails: Dynamic Arrangement by Kazimir Malevich (Malevich c/o MoMA; Duchamp © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp; Stravinsky and Suffragette photo courtesey of Wikimedia Commons)

What a year was 1913! In an exhibition in a New York Armory, American viewers confronted Cubism and abstraction for the first time. In Vienna, the audience at a concert of atonal music by Schoenberg and others broke out into a near-riot. And in Paris, Stravinsky and Nijinsky’s new ballet The Rite of Spring burst on stage with inflammatory results.

Culture Shock 1913 tells the stories behind these and other groundbreaking events that year, and goes back to consider what led to this mad, Modernist moment. "I think in a lot of ways it was just the beginning of a century just of absolute chaos and nightmare, and as so often, the artists heard it and reflected it first," notes the critic Tim Page. WNYC’s Sara Fishko speaks with thinkers, authors, musicians, art curators, and historians about this unsettling era of sweeping change — and the not-so-subtle ways in which it mirrors our own uncertain age.

This Studio 360 episode is an abridged version of a one-hour documentary Sara Fishko produced for WNYC. The original program, videos, and related podcasts can be found here.

Host/Executive Producer: Sara Fishko
Associate Producer: Laura Mayer
Editor: Karen Frillmann
Mix Engineer: Wayne Shulmister, additional mixing by Edward Haber

 

Slideshow: Art that rocked the world in 1913

Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 was featured in the landmark Armory Show.

Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913 (cast 1931)

Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Umberto Boccioni, Dynamism of a Soccer Player, 1913

© 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Constantin Brancusi, Mlle Pogany, version I, 1913 (after a marble of 1912)

© 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp, 3 Standard Stoppages, 1913-14

© 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel, 1951 (third version, after lost original of 1913)

© 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Natalia Goncharova, Rayonism, Blue-Green Forest, 1913 (dated on reverse 1911)

Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Roger de La Fresnaye, The Conquest of the Air, 1913

© 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Mikhail Larionov, Rayonist Composition: Domination of Red, 1912-13 (dated on painting 1911)

Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Kazimir Malevich, Woman with Pails: Dynamic Arrangement, 1912-13 (dated on reverse 1912)

Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Kazimir Malevich, Samovar, 1913

© 2012 Succession H. Matisse, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Henri Matisse, The Back (II), 1911 (?), early March or April 1913

Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Piet Mondrian, Composition in Brown and Gray, 1913

© 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Francis Picabia, I See Again in Memory My Dear Udnie, 1914, possibly begun 1913

Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Morgan Russell, Creavit Deus Hominem (Synchromy Number 3: Color Counterpoint), 1913

Comments [12]

Laura

I have been studying Stravinsky's Rite of Spring within a cultural context and found this to be one of the most enlightening sources so far! It was fascinating, and I will have to listen to it again just for how well put together and enjoyable it was, thank you so much.

Mar. 07 2013 03:56 PM
JJT from Huntington, NY

Wonderful! Heading over to listen to the full hour version now!

As a sort of jump to the left in relation to the topics covered in this show, I'd like to mention a 1913 project I happened upon in historical newspapers and am researching further right now.

At the same time culture was beginning its change of direction, there was a project being undertaken by the Modern Historic Records Association that was supposed to create long-lasting documentation of recent history using methods less ephemeral than those normally in practice.

This included asking the Association membership (with many famous people of the day) to write messages to their descendants to be opened 100 years hence. (Right about.... NOW!) Two copies were made and placed in indestructible boxes - with one to be presented to the New York Public Library, and the other to be buried in the Cheops Pyramid.

Whether either occurred in full is unknown, but I'm working on it! There was definitely some presentation to the NYPL - see a bit more info in my blog post here:

http://currach.johnjtierney.com/2013/01/messages-for-posterity/

It seems that while Modernism was coming into being in 1913, there was also at least a short push to hold onto the past with some feeling that it was slipping away. I'm hoping to find that these messages still exist, at least in the NYPL.

Jan. 24 2013 12:52 PM
sivert

The program briefly goes over some of the new technology that led to the newness in art, but I find it very strange that quantum mechanics and relativity is not mentioned at all! A goodbye to causality and absolute truth is freshly shocking even today, as it was at the time

Jan. 16 2013 06:04 PM
TJ Worthington from sparta, NC

Thanks for the 1913 show. I love that time in the art world and the other worlds you showed kicking off in that time. I turned the radio on a few minutes after it started and was stunned to hear something so well done on that time. Listened without doing anything else until it was done. Wow.

Jan. 01 2013 10:54 PM
ZZ Shah from Downtown Manhattan

First time I have ever commented on this show. I gasped when the episode was over; this was ike listening to an intellectual soap opera. I'm actually going play this again. Damn stunning. Thank you Kurt. Thank you Ms. Fishko. Shock indeed!

Jan. 01 2013 10:32 PM
Ben Knight from www.benknight.net

"We are still in Modernism" -Robert Irwin, Rice University 2000

Dec. 31 2012 09:41 AM
Randal Samstag from Bainbridge Island, WA

I took a most memorable course in about 1968 from Yosel Rogat titled "Modernisms" which covered about the same ground: Duchamps, Stravinsky, Picasso, Wittgenstein, Paul Valery. It was an eye opener for me at the time. This program was a great reminiscence. Thanks so much.

Dec. 30 2012 11:42 PM
Elaina

Salute! The best in years. Thank you.

Dec. 30 2012 11:20 PM
Ned DeLamatre from Akron, Ohio

"Culture shock 1913" is fantastic. I have recently been studying Modernism and this has been a great compliment to what I have learned. On the same topic, I highly recommend Will Gompertz's new book "What Are You Looking At?"

Dec. 30 2012 11:31 AM
Brooke

This documentary was fascinating. I was unfamiliar with the aspects of the Classical Music Riots of this time period, but I have been mulling over some of the same ideas about a similarity between our current era and the birth of modernism. I was excited to find that other thinkers were making similar socio-historical connections. The program gave me a lot to think about and my friend and I new have lots of fun things to research and write about. Thanks for the great entertainment.

Dec. 29 2012 04:16 PM
Kevin Mark from Utah

This is an excellent documentary! The details, insight, and historical context bring the period to life.

Dec. 29 2012 11:25 AM
Justine mitchell

I have just listened to your program Culture Shock 1913. I was blown away.
It is absolutely outstanding. Thank you.

Dec. 29 2012 07:07 AM

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