Postmodernism and the En-Gendering of Marcel Duchamp

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A critical analysis of postmodernism in the visual arts since the 1960s, this book focuses primarily on American texts that reference and construct Marcel Duchamp as the originator of postmodern art. Amelia Jones contends that Duchamp, through his 'readymades', (the standard terms used to describe Duchamp's works) has paradoxically served in a paternal role for post-1960s American artists, critics and art historians, who have attempted to construct a new tradition of artistic practice that counters the masculinist ideologies of Abstract Expressionism and Greenbergian modernism. Adapting feminist, psychoanalytic and Derridean conceptions of interpretation as an exchange of sexual identities, Jones offers highly charged readings that focus on the eroticism of Duchamp's works and on his theories of artistic production. She reconstructs Duchamp as an indeterminably gendered author whose gift to postmodernism might best be viewed in terms of the potential of his readymades to destructure the contradictory notions of sexual difference and subjectivity.

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Editorial Reviews

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'Jones has brought Duchamp studies to a point beyond their customary restriction to a historicist assimilation of the object to an institutional critique … to save Duchamp one has to separate him from Warholism and conceptualism … and Jones has done so.' Art and Text

'Jones' book serves an important function in demonstrating that even if Marcel Duchamp has entered the art-historical canon, he can never be comfortable there, and more importantly, his art will always subvert it from within.' Art in America

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Product Details

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: modernist art history and the en-gendering of (Duchampian) postmodernism; 2. Duchamp as generative patriarch of American postmodernists: the anti-masculinist, anti-modernist lineage; 3. The living author-function: Duchamp's authority; 4. Duchamp's seduction: slippages of the authorial 'I'; 5. The ambivalence of Rose Sélavy and the (male) artist as 'only the mother of work'; intertext, re-placing Duchamp's eroticism: seeing étant donnés from a feminist perspective; 6. Concluding remarks on the en-gendering of Marcel Duchamp.

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