Duchampian News & Views

  • Hiroshi Sugimoto Pays Electric Tribute

    Mr. Sugimoto, best known as a photographer, has assembled various "assisted" readymades that combine his love of Marcel Duchamp’s career with electricity. The rest is a collection of "bachelor machines" that dazzle, intrigue and even startle from time to time. These wheels not only spin but spark. (At New York’s Pace Gallery, through December 24.)

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  • “Mustached Mona Lisa” Sells at Christie’s

    No. 21 of a limited edition of 35 copies of L.H.O.O.Q. sold recently at Christie’s in New York for $452,000, roughly five times as much as the auction house expected. The image — hand-doodled by the artist on an existing mass-market reproduction — comes from the collection of Robert Shapazian, while the auction itself has raised eyebrows (if not mustaches) from as far away as Moscow.

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  • Sotheby’s Selling a Man Ray Original

    Next Friday, an auction of rare photographs in the Paris Sotheby’s includes a treat for Marcel Duchamp fans: an original portrait of the artist by lifelong collaborator Man Ray, consigned by the Duchamp family itself. The item, bearing Ray’s original Parisian stamp, is expected to fetch bids in the 15,000- to 20,000-euro range (roughly $21,000 to $28,000).

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  • Hide/Seek, Rrose Selavy?

    A new exhibition at Washington's National Portrait Gallery, "Hide/Seek," surveys homoerotic art and, by extension, the signs of transgressive sexuality hidden in apparently heteronormative portraiture. As such, the inclusion of a transvestite portrait of Marcel Duchamp by lifelong friend Man Ray reopens provocative questions about the artist's female persona. Who was "Rrose Selavy," really? Did she satisfy Duchamp's insatiable desire to subvert all assumpt.. read more...
  • Erwin Wurm, Meet Mr. Mutt

    While arguably not "retinal" art in a conventional sense, the abstractly absurdist sculpture of Austrian artist Erwin Wurm has few explicit points of contact with the rarefied concepts and anti-reification of much contemporary Duchamp scholarship. Wurm's appropriation of the famous Fountain, for example, and his fusion of the urinal with a fanciful representation of its mythical creator, "R. Mutt" himself, is not so much profound as funny. Duchamp also lau.. read more...
  • Duchamp: First of the Napster Generation?

    The Web makes nearly all of us digital pirates whether we try to avoid appropriating copy-protected material or not. Every Youtube video that makes use of pre-existing footage, every snippet of pre-recorded sound, every famous image clipped and copied into a blog is fraught with both legal and metaphysical implications. Where is the original? Who owns it? How much revision is permitted -- or necessary -- before the "found" work of art becomes something to which we c.. read more...
  • Back to the Chess Game . . . Down Under

    The Bendigo Art Gallery, located near suburban Melbourne, is hosting both the global Art of Chess exhibition and a special Australia-oriented show spotlighting local artists' interactions with the game that famously distracted Marcel Duchamp from the art world . . . and drove him to cross the world in search of a good match. While the Australian boards on display have an overtly figural quality and dubious playability, their humor may well have endeared them to the master. (T.. read more...
  • Melancholia and the Bachelors Even

    Critic Gabriel Josipovici is making a few waves by drawing what some call a "bravura" link between Dürer’s Melancholia and Duchamp’s Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even. But how? For the answers, as yet, one must read his latest book, but the shared presence of so-called "bachelor machines" in both works may have something to do with their apparent kinship . . . and enduring appeal.

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  • Sculpture for Traveling

    The Sculpture for Traveling, Duchamp's 1918 camera-composed "sculpture," has received new attention recently thanks to the New York Museum of Modern Art's "The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture" retrospective. Over and above the Duchampian questions of what constitutes the "original" copy of a signed readymade or other "assisted' reproduction, the topic introduces nuances about the portability of sculpture. Is the sculptural in itself .. read more...
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