The Duchamp Dictionary

The Duchamp Dictionary

Thomas Girst

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0500239177

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

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the artist who was his senior by twenty-five years. Although Cage had known about Duchamp since the early 1940s, and they had met at many events, he did not dare to approach his idol until twenty years later – he asked the artist whether he would teach him how to play chess, to which Duchamp agreed. Both had exhibited together before. Duchamp considered it ‘very fortunate’5 that Cage wrote the score for his sequence in Dreams That Money Can Buy (1947), an experimental film by the Surrealist

up for the lost original and paved the way for a shiny white porcelain bathroom fixture to be revered worldwide. Re-cast or re-photographed by Elaine Sturtevant (b. 1930) and Sherrie Levine (b. 1947), painted and drawn by Richard Pettibone (b. 1938) and Mike Bidlo (b. 1953), appropriated by artists from Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929) and Bruce Nauman (b. 1941) to Robert Gober (b. 1954) and Shi Xinning (b. 1969), Duchamp’s Fountain has held onto its place at the centre of the contemporary art world.

Over sixty years before Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) mischievously smiled at Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–89) for his famous 1982 photograph of her holding La Fillette (1968), her sculpture of an enormous, erect phallus, it was the self-styled baroness and penniless Dada artist Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874–1927) who wiggled a plaster cast of a penis at many of those who ventured into her Greenwich Village apartment. Eccentric in both her appearance and her art, she fell madly in love with

emerged in the US. Since these publications were “un-designed,” they gave credence to the idea of anti-design. What Duchamp hath wrought, many in my generation continued.’16 GREY MATTER A vague but important concept in Duchamp’s thinking, grey matter is most often referred to in opposition to the retinal, or mere visual art. He likened it to ‘our urge for understanding’17 outside the picture plane, engaging the mind instead of solely dabbling in questions of aesthetics. Therefore, the

in Naumann, 1999, p. 261. 47. Quoted in Harriet and Sidney Janis, ‘Marcel Duchamp: Anti-Artist’, in Ford (ed.), 1945, pp. 18–24, 53, p. 18. 48. Quoted in Sanouillet and Peterson (eds), 1989, p. 118. 49. Ibid. 50. Copley, 1969, p. 36. 51. Ibid. 52. Cabanne, 1987, p. 16. 53. Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes in this entry are from Duchamp, ‘The Creative Act’, in Hill (ed.), 1994, p. 87. 54. Dreier and Echaurren, 1944, n.p. 55. Ibid. 56. Tomkins, 2013, p. 62. 57. Naumann and Obalk

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