If one painting could be said to have brought Modern Art to American, it would have to have to be Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase #2. Painted in 1912 and first exhibited at the Armory Show in New York shortly thereafter, it sparked a firestorm of criticism and outrage. A critic referred to it as, "...an explosion in a shingle factory." President Teddy Roosevelt compared it unfavorably to a Navajo rug he owned, and a cartoonist mocked it with a similiar rendering of New York commuters descending into a subway with: "The RUDE descending a staircase".

Nonetheless, the painting SOLD. Today it can be seen in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.