In the years leading up to the First World War, the realist tradition in the United States
was given new life within the ranks of the so-called Ashcan School, a term that loosely
describes a group of artists in New York who favored, as the name implies, commonplace
Line subjects, even ones that emphasized the seedy aspects of daily life. In an era when the
5 United States was shifting from an agricultural to an industrially based economy, artists
turned to the vitality of the city for their themes, sometimes documenting the lives of the
nation's urban inhabitants with a literalness that shocked viewers accustomed to the bland
generalizations of academic art. Thus, the first modern American revolution in painting in
the early twentieth century was not away from, but toward, realism.
10 The developments toward realism and new pictorial subject matter introduced by this revolution are explained in part by the fact that the academic spirit had become anathema
to many young painters by the beginning of the twentieth century, when the professional
survival of an artist was largely contingent on membership in the National Academy of
Design, the American equivalent of the French Academy of Aits. The National Academy
15 of Design perpetuated the Traditions of ftp French Academy, such as annual juried exhibitions. Although it merged with the more tolerant Society of American Artists in
1907, it remained steadfastly intolerant of new developments.
At the same time, important venues in New York, particularly Alfred Stteglitz's gallery
known as 291 and* in 1913, the gigantic exhibition of modern art known as the Armory
20 Show, introduced European modernists to American audiences and nurtured a number
of American artists committed not to realism but to experimental art During the 1930's,
the country's focus turned inward, giving rise to new varieties of realist art based on
intrinsically American themes. These were practiced by the so-called Regionalists, who
recorded the rural lire of the Midwest, and the more politically engaged Social Realists,
25 who documented the social consequences of extreme economic change. Also a fertile
period for American photography, the era before the Second World War witnessed the development of photojournalism, as well as social documentary and advertising photography.
【題組】48. Why docs the author mention the Armory Show in lines 19-20?
(A)To explain why most American artiste rejected the influence or European experimental art
(B)To explain why politically engaged art developed in the United States during the 1930’s
(C)To give an example of an exhibition that introduced modem European artists
(D)To argue that American painters were not sufficiently exposed to experimental art