Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés

Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés

by Michael R. Taylor, Andrew Lins, Melissa S. Meighan, Beth A. Price
     
 

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In his early thirties, Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) convinced everyone that he had abandoned making art in favor of playing chess. But from 1946 to 1966, he was secretly at work in his studio on West 14th Street in New York City. There he produced his final masterpiece: Étant donnés: 1º la chute d'eau, 2º le gaz

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Overview

In his early thirties, Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) convinced everyone that he had abandoned making art in favor of playing chess. But from 1946 to 1966, he was secretly at work in his studio on West 14th Street in New York City. There he produced his final masterpiece: Étant donnés: 1º la chute d'eau, 2º le gaz d’éclairage, composed of a battered wood door through which one views a prone, nude female, holding aloft an antique gas lamp against a landscape of trees, waterfall, and sky. Unveiled as a permanent installation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in July 1969, the year after Duchamp’s death, it startled the art world with its explicit eroticism and voyeurism, as well as its trompe l’oeil realism. Since its public debut, Étant donnés has been recognized as one of the most important and enigmatic works of the 20th century.

Published to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the original installation of Étant donnés and to accompany the first major exhibition on the artwork and its studies, this richly illustrated book presents a wealth of new research and documents that draw upon previously unpublished works of art and materials. The catalogue also examines the critical and artistic reception of Étant donnés, as evidenced by the subsequent work of Les Levine, Hannah Wilke, Robert Gober, Marcel Dzama, Ray Johnson, and other artists who have engaged with Duchamp’s provocative and challenging tableau-construction.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Surrealist artist Marcel Duchamp demonstrated his belief that "things of great importance in art have to be slowly produced" by taking 20 years to create Étant donnés, his final, large artwork. The room-sized installation, featuring a nude female mannequin with prominent genitalia posed on a bed of twigs in front of a hyperreal landscape, including a twinkling waterfall, was installed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art just after his 1968 death. Museumgoers view the piece through two peepholes in a weathered wooden door. In this exhaustively detailed volume, published in connection with a Philadelphia exhibit based on Étant donnés, Taylor (curator of modern art, Philadelphia Museum of Art) covers the piece's creation, other Duchamp pieces associated with it, the love affair that inspired it, technical analyses of its materials and their assembly, its donation to the museum, its popular and critical reception, and its influence on other artists. VERDICT An exhaustive treatment of a single artwork that only scholars or the most avid Duchamp fans will read completely. Profuse illustrations and Duchamp's name will also attract more casual browsers.—Kathryn Wekselman, MLn, Cincinnati\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300149791
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
08/25/2009
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 11.30(h) x 1.50(d)

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