Duchamp Brain Shampoo
This begins a series of notes about the Marcel Duchamp exhibit at the Centre Pompidou which I visited with Jim Campbell after we wrapped Chorus Lux.
Jim is the one who really introduced me to Duchamp, and convinced me that “he is the most important artist of the 20th century”.
Duchamp is the Descartes of art. Descartes revealed a gap between thought and reality.
Duchamp first disconnected the physical work of art from its idea, and then showed us that the idea is the work of art.
Looking at Duchamp’s work in the show, Jim and I noted the following milestones:
- He is a Fauvist painter
- He becomes a Cubist
- He becomes a Futurist, or more precisely, a Dynamist
- He abandons “retinal art”
- He invents the readymade
All this happens between 1911 and 1914.
Duchamp then appears to spend the next 50 years playing chess, ruminating about what he has wrought, and coming up with brilliant quotes about his own work, and art in general.
An important transition is from Cubism, rendering different points of view simultaneously,
to Dynamism (a variation of Futurism), the simultaneous rendering of different moments.
Cubism is about space and geometry, Dynamism about time and event.
Duchamp’s most revolutionary invention is the readymade, which becomes a work of art when it is given a title.
Duchamp is said to define the readymade as the intersection of an object, an inscription and a given time.
Object, title, moment.
The moment you title an object.