One of the giants of the 20th century, Marcel Duchamp changed the course of modern art when he sidestepped the banal and sentimental in order to find the relationship between symbol and object and to unearth the concepts underlying art itself. This intelligently written biography brings Duchamp to life with style, wit, and a deep sense of irony. ...
One of the giants of the 20th century, Marcel Duchamp changed the course of modern art when he sidestepped the banal and sentimental in order to find the relationship between symbol and object and to unearth the concepts underlying art itself. This intelligently written biography brings Duchamp to life with style, wit, and a deep sense of irony. 150 illustrations.
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Publishers Weekly, 1996-09-16 Iconoclastic French artist Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), known for his Nude Descending a Staircase and for the urinal and other commonplace objects he exhibited as works of art, emerges in this superb, sparkling biography as a touching figure. Duchamp, who viewed the modern artist as an "irresponsible medium" not fully aware of what he is doing, jettisoned conventional painting for mechanical drawing, written notes, experiments with chance, hybrid artifacts. New Yorker art columnist Tomkins (Living Well Is the Best Revenge) credits Duchamp as a major inspiration for conceptualism, Pop, minimalism and kinetic, Earth, video and multimedia art, which, if true, is all the more remarkable because Duchamp, who settled in New York in 1942, virtually abandoned art to become a championship chess player in the early 1920s, remaining a shadowy presence on the art scene until his rediscovery in the 1960s. Tomkins limns an increasingly solitary, detached man who finally found happiness with second wife Alexina Matisse, whom he married in 1954. In recreating Duchamp's artistic circles and friendships with Man Ray, Francis Picabia, Brancusi, Apollinaire, Breton and others, Tomkins delivers a feast of high gossip and momentous art history in an enjoyable biography that pins down its elusive subject. Illustrations. (Nov.)
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