Society of Independent Artists

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Marcel Duchamp was one of the co-founders of the Society of Independent Artists Inc. (SIA), which was established in 1916, and was the only European one of the directors.He helped the artists' association, which exhibited annually until 1944 , to great popularity from the start through the scandal surrounding its rejected Ready-made Fountain .


The chairman was William Glackens , who had also helped organize the Armory Show . Furthermore, Charles Prendergast as Vice President, Walter Pach as Treasurer, John Covert as Secretary and Walter Arensberg as managing director belonged to this company. Artists among the directors included: George Bellows , Katherine Sophie Dreier , Rockwell Kent , John Marin , Alfred Henry Maurer , Man Ray , Morton Schamberg and Joseph Stella . Following the example of the French Salon des Indépendants , no censorship and no preselection by a jury should take place for the planned exhibitions, so that everyone “who paid the fee” could have exhibited. The artist paid a dollar entry fee to join the society. For the annual fee of five dollars, he was then allowed to show a maximum of two works in the annual exhibition.

The first and largest exhibition, called the Big Show , with 2125 works by 1200 artists, opened on April 10, 1917 in New York's Grand Central Palace at 20 West 31st Street. It was twice the size of the Armory Show of 1913 and offered not only avant-garde art, which included the sculpture Constantin Brâncușis Princesse X , which was exhibited there . The audience never saw Duchamp's Ready-made Fountain , which he had submitted under the pseudonym R. Mutt. The President of the Board of Management, Glackens, announced in a press release that the object submitted was not a work of art. Duchamp and Arensberg then resigned from the board in protest. Later exhibitions showed fewer works and were of reduced quality.

The Society of Independent Artists is not to be confused with the Société des Artistes Indépendants , founded in Paris in 1884 . Salon des Indépendants organized.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Calvin Tomkins: Marcel Duchamp. A biography , p. 211 ff