Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp, 1910-1941

Overview

There is not one Marcel Duchamp, but several. Within his oeuvre Duchamp practiced a variety of modernist idioms and invented an array of contradictory personas: artist and art dealer,conceptualist and craftsman, chess champion and dreamer, dandy and recluse.In Infinite Regress,David Joselit considers the plurality of identities and practices within Duchamp's life and art between 1910 and 1941, conducting a synthetic reading of his early and middle career. Taking into account underacknowledged works and focusing ...

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Overview

There is not one Marcel Duchamp, but several. Within his oeuvre Duchamp practiced a variety of modernist idioms and invented an array of contradictory personas: artist and art dealer,conceptualist and craftsman, chess champion and dreamer, dandy and recluse.In Infinite Regress,David Joselit considers the plurality of identities and practices within Duchamp's life and art between 1910 and 1941, conducting a synthetic reading of his early and middle career. Taking into account underacknowledged works and focusing on the conjunction of the machine and the commodity inDuchamp's art, Joselit notes a consistent opposition between the material world and various forms of measurement, inscription, and quantification. Challenging conventional accounts, he describes the readymade strategy not merely as a rejection of painting, but as a means of producing new models of the modern self.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Two art historians contribute these most recent additions to the greatly expanding library of Duchamp literature. The more far-reaching of the two is Joselit (Univ. of California, Irvine), who ambitiously attempts to find a "center" for Duchamp's multifarious oeuvre. No other artist of such great influence and importance produced a body of work that is so complex (so constantly turning in on itself), and Joselit feels scholars have too often focused only on one theme, period, or medium. Simply put, Joselit argues that Duchamp's transformations are that center and are "organized around a consistent dynamic or interplay between materiality and its measure or the body and its (self) identification." Along the way he does touch on virtually all periods; his analysis of Duchamp's often neglected linguistic readymades is especially fresh and elucidating. Joselit makes good use of a good deal of recent scholarship, but most of all his achievement is tying a string around Duchamp's plurality. By contrast, Henderson (Univ. of Texas at Austin) focuses on a specific theme, albeit one that Duchamp himself found endlessly fascinating. The author of The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art (1975), she seems particularly well qualified to examine how the discussions and discoveries of the early 20th centuryfrom X-rays, wave theory, and optics to notions of the fourth dimensionaffected Duchamp's art. While not the first to touch on these matters, Henderson rightly argues that too many previous scholars have ignored the humor in the artist's relation to "playful physics." She also makes use of all the notes on the large glass (including those posthumously published) and brings a broad understanding of turn-of-the-century science to the work. Joselit's work belongs in all art and academic libraries; Henderson deserves a place in larger academic art or history of science collections.Douglas McClemont, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262600385
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 2/19/2001
  • Series: October Books
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

David Joselit is Distinguished Professor in the Art History Department of the CUNY GraduateCenter and the author of Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp 1910-1941 (MIT Press,1998) and American Art Since 1945.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 3
1 Mensuration En Abyme: Marcel Duchamp's Cubism 9
2 Between Reification and Regression: Readymades and Words 71
3 Modern Machines: From the Virgin to the Widow 111
4 The Self Readymade 157
Conclusion 195
Notes 199
Index 243
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