This book brings together for the first time Moira Roth's influential articles, lectures and interviews on the two men who embodied the very spirit of the avant-garde: Marcel Duchamp and John Cage.
Cage, who died in 1992, and Duchamp, who died in 1968, seemed to live on the permissive border of modernism, and later, of postmodernism. The artists have for almost thirty years fascinated, irritated, inspired, and daunted the author of these essays - Moira Roth.
At first they were an inspiration for her writing and teaching then, with their gradual transformation into 'classical' figures, she felt compelled to reconsider and re-evaluate them.
The core of the book is provided by her two very influential and much cited essays of the 70's, "Marcel Duchamp in America: A Self Ready-Made" and "The Aesthetic of Indifference," amplified by a series of interviews Roth conducted — she is a virtuoso of the interview form....These talks both nuance our picture of Duchamp himself and trace the ripple effect of his work and persona upon American art in the third quarter of the 20th century. They are followed by a more personal section in which Roth in effect interviews herself, reflecting-from the distance of the present-upon her own bittersweet tale of engagement/disengagement with the Duchamp phenomenon.