"It was on Feb. 17, 1913 that the Armory Show opened in New York City, the first comprehensive exhibition of modern art in this country. At the time, American art was dominated by the ultra-conservative National Academy of Design, which had no interest in nonrepresentational or experimental work. In 1912, a group of artists had gotten together and formed the Association for American Painters and Sculptors. One of these artists was the painter Walt Kuhn, who wrote to his wife: "My idea about the new society is this: a big broad liberal organization embracing every kind of art, even those which I do not like, one that will interest the public ... the thing must be started so that it can grow and be as big or bigger than the academy within two or three years."
The group decided that the best way to compete with the Academy would be to have a well-publicized exhibition. Kuhn and fellow artist Arthur Bowen Davies traveled to Europe to collect art for the show. They brought home work by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Cézanne, Wassily Kandinsky, Vincent Van Gogh, and many other artists. (SOURCE: Writer's Almanac Newsletter)
Thus the Impressionists (and others) were introduced to America. I'm so glad some artists/galleries continue make the efforts to share the cutting edge of art...today that's still worth checking out. Moving beyond our comfort zone in art can show us many beautiful things.