Jenny Shircliff earned her PhD in art history at the University of Louisville in 2014. Her research of art in the early twentieth century resulted in her dissertation, Women of the 1913 Armory Show: Their Contributions to the Development of American Modern Art.
The Armory Show exhibition, with its "new spirit," is celebrated as a watershed moment in the history of art. However, most of the art historical discourse champions the work of the men artists and organizers to the exclusion of women, thus portraying the Armory Show as a gendered event and rendering women's participation in the development of American modern art as negligible. On the contrary, women were involved as artists, financial backers, and influential art collectors, all shaping the visual culture of the time.
Of the 300 artists exhibiting at this pivotal event in New York, 50 were women. Additionally, women made up 19 of the 24 financial backers. And, of the 77 people who purchased works of art at the exhibition, women made up nearly half. Taken together, not only can we see the importance of women's contributions to the Armory Show, but also to the developing world of modern art in the early twentieth century. (see complete dissertation here)