Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Changing Art Forever: Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp has always been one of my favorite conceptual artists. I loved dada as a movement and an idea. His work was much more about the idea of art, what it is and what it isn't, than any technical brilliance (which he also possessed).

You can read Duchamp's essay, The Creative Act, here. The Chess-Theory Virtual Art Museum has a great collection of Duchamp's art.

Andréa Fernandes responded to reader requests over at Mental Floss for a post on Duchamp with this, Changing Art Forever: Marcel Duchamp. Enjoy.
Changing Art Forever: Marcel Duchamp
by Andréa Fernandes - July 29, 2008 - 12:18 PM
New Feel Art Again.jpg


(“Church at Blainville,” “Sundays,” “Portrait of the Artist’s Father,” “Nude Descending a Staircase”)

Four readers requested a post on Marcel Duchamp, one of the most controversial and most discussed artists in recent history. A Google search yields almost 1.5 million results for the French and American artist, whose 121st birthday was yesterday. Much of the controversy and discussion revolves around Duchamp’s “readymades,” particularly “Fountain” (1917), but, as evidenced by the four works of art above, there is so much more to Marcel Duchamp than just a urinal.

1. Like Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp was well-schooled in more traditional artwork before he became known for his boundary-pushing works. As a boy, he received awards at school for his artwork and, upon graduation, he studied art at Académie Julian for a year. Jacques Villon, his older brother and a well-regarded painter, acted as his art mentor. Another brother, Raymond-Duchamp-Villon, was a sculptor while sister Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti was a painter. Grandfather Emile Nicolle was a painter and engraver.

2. Duchamp had varied interests and was particularly fascinated with math, mechanization, and technology. After visiting an exhibition of aviation technology, he remarked to Constantin Brancusi, “Painting is washed up. Who will ever do anything better than that propeller? Tell me, can you do that?” His upside-down bicycle wheel mounted onto a stool, now usually presented as art, wasn’t originally intended to be art. Duchamp simply enjoyed watching it spin, just as he enjoyed “looking at the flames dancing in the fireplace.” He also created several other pieces, like his “Precision Optics” pieces, which he explicitly said were not art.

Go read the rest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Duchamp is one of my favorite artists, believe it or not. I want to go to Philly and see is final, unfinished work, in which you have to look through a hole in a wall to see.