The Duchamp Dictionary
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
“Girst elegantly unravels the skeins of Duchamp’s thinking. . . . An essential compendium for puzzling out an essential artist.” —Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation
Among the most influential artists of the last hundred years, Marcel Duchamp holds great allure for many contemporary artists worldwide and is largely considered to be one of the founding fathers of modern art. Despite this popularity, books on Duchamp are often hyper-theoretical, rarely presenting the artist in an accessible way. This new book explores the artist’s life and work through short, alphabetical dictionary entries that introduce his legacy in a clear and engaging way.
From alchemy and anatomy to Warhol and windows, The Duchamp Dictionary offers a pithy and readable text that draws on in-depth scholarship and the very latest research. Thomas Girst includes close to 200 entries on the most interesting and important artworks, relationships, people, and ideas in Duchamp’s life—from The Bicycle Wheel and Fountain to Walter and Louise Arensberg, Peggy Guggenheim, Katherine Dreier, and Arturo Schwarz. Delightful, newly commissioned illustrations introduce each letter of the alphabet and accompany select entries, capturing the irreverent spirit of the artist himself. 59 color illustrations
1950s and early 1960s, the artist compares the act of love to a ‘four dimensional situation par excellence’.18 Of all the senses, only the sense of touch as a crucial part of lovemaking could possibly provide a rare glimpse, or at the most a physical interpretation, of the fourth dimension. This from an artist who maintained that a three-dimensional object related to the fourth dimension in the same way that the shadows of his readymades related to the objects themselves: ‘Any three-dimensional
Spiritual in Art, Wassily Kandinsky’s (1866–1944) groundbreaking treatise on abstraction, which had been published earlier that year. Duchamp’s view was that perception is not a solid entity but one that perpetually changes and evolves: what is considered abstract today may no longer be seen that way fifty years hence.6 Whether in his readymades, optical devices or his semi-abstract film Anémic Cinéma (1926), Duchamp frequently embedded highly personal humour and eroticism in his works, but
1968), Kiki Smith (b. 1954), Robert Smithson (1938–73), Daniel Spoerri (b. 1930), Haim Steinbach (b. 1954), Elaine Sturtevant (b. 1930), Mark Tansey (b. 1949), Paul Thek (1933–88), Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920), André Thomkins (1930–85), Lin Tianmiao (b. 1961), Jean Tinguely (1925–91), Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961), Ben Vautier (b. 1935), T. Venkanna (b. 1980), Francesco Vezzoli (b. 1971), Robert Watts (1923–88), Peter Weibel (b. 1944), Lawrence Weiner (b. 1942), Ai Weiwei (b. 1957), Ji Wenju (b.
Box (1934) ( boxes) and the Rotoreliefs (1935) to the Box-in-a-Valise. ‘I don’t know of any other work of art more “unique”‘,51 Roché remarked upon encountering the Large Glass (1915–23). In his contribution to Duchamp’s first biography, he describes him as ‘young, alert and inspired’.52 The artist ‘enjoyed life and knew how it should be lived’.53 To the writer, his friend ‘was creating his own legend’ and wore a ‘halo’ made up of his ‘outward calm, his easygoing nature, his keenness of
Ibid. 33. Motherwell, ‘Introduction by Robert Motherwell’, in Cabanne, 1987, pp. 7–12, p. 12. 34. Paz, 1970, n.p. 35. Cabanne, 1987, pp. 84, 93. 36. Eglington, 1933, pp. 3, 11. 37. From Edmund White, ‘Moma’s Boy’, Vanity Fair (September 1996), p. 304, quoted in Naumann, 1999, p. 286. 38. Sanouillet and Peterson (eds), 1989, p. 157. 39. Pontus Hultén (ed.), 1993, p. 19. 40. Birnbaum and Gunarsson (eds), 2012, p. 17. 41. Ibid. 42. Hélène Parmelin, Voyage en Picasso, Paris: Robert Laffond,