21.11.08 - Duchamp - Press kit

Duchamp Exhibition- List of works


Marcel Duchamp: a work that is not a work “of art”

Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires.

22.11.08 - 01.02.09


Supported by Tenaris, Ternium, and the Organización Techint.



BK   Bibliothèque Kandinsky Centre de Documentacion et de Recherche du MNAM-CCI

C.DF  David Fleiss Collection, Paris

C.FK  Frederick and Lilian Kiesler Private Foundation Collection, Viena

C.JMM  Jacqueline Matisse Monnier Collection

C.LZ  Luizella Zignone Collection

C.MM  Moderna Museet Collection, Stockholm

DB   Les Films de l' equinoxe. Fonds photographique Denise Bellon

IUAM  Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington. Partial gift of William H. Conroy’s wife

MD   Marcel Duchamp

MMVP  Musée d' Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

MNCP  Musée National d'Art Moderne

1990 Centre Pompidou, Paris - Centre de Création Industrielle - Achat 1990

MNCP  Musée National d' Art Moderne

2005 Centre Pompidou, Paris - Centre de Création Industrielle Dépôt du Siège national du Parti Comuniste français, 2005

P.c  Private Collection

PMA  Philadelphia Museum of Art

RS   Roger Schall, Paris

S.MD Succession Marcel Duchamp Villiers sous Grez, France

ZB   Cortesía Zabriskie Gallery


The exhibition

Elena Filipovic, Curator 

Marcel Duchamp: A work that is not a work “of art” takes its title from a question that Marcel Duchamp wrote down one day in 1913: “Can one make works that are not ‘of art’?” The question announced a radical shift in the practice of the Frenchman, who had mostly been a painter until that time: it signaled the beginning of his defiance of traditional ideas of what counts as an artwork and it laid the foundations for what would make him the most influential artist of twentieth and twenty-first centuries. His insistent rethinking of the work “of art” is the focus of this first-ever major solo presentation of Duchamp in Latin America, featuring  123 pieces of each form of media the artist worked in from 1913 to the end of his life.

The exhibition begins with the moment when Duchamp wrote his famous question, which coincides with the period in which he began to conceive of mass-produced “ready-made” objects as potential artworks by simply being selected by the artist (an ordinary bottle-drying rack he bought at a local hardware store, for example). The gesture marked a revolution in art history by refusing the idea that art could only be unique and original pieces of carefully crafted painting or sculpture to be looked at. The invention of the readymade was not, however, Duchamp’s only groundbreaking gesture in this same period: among other activities, he invented a new system of measurement, declaring the experiment “art,” he created multiple photographic copies of his notes, he used chance to make music, and he first used photography and perspective to redefine painting—all between 1913 and 1914. And over the years, Duchamp continued his diverse experiments, many represented in this exhibition (in some cases through studies, replicas, or reconstructions).

The presentation of the selected artworks on display structures made up of jagged, irregular lines and offering no singular, fixed, or chronological path, underlines the way in which traditional notions like continuity and aesthetic “progress” make little sense in relation to Duchamp’s oeuvre. Instead the pieces are organized in groupings that reveal the connections between and the persistent return of such seemingly diverse preoccupations in Duchamp’s work as readymades, optics, perspective, transparency, chance, humor, reproduction, performativity, erotics, and display. In so doing, the exhibition points to the complexity of a set of central ideas in Duchamp’s oeuvre, and their challenge to the very foundations of art, then and still to this day.

Marcel Duchamp: A work that is not a work “of art” brings to Latin America many rare and exceptional works for an historic event possible thanks to loans from major museums and Private collections, including the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and the Duchamp Estate in France.


Room 2


In 1913, Duchamp attached a bicycle wheel to a stool and watched it spin in his studio. Two years later, he gave it and objects like it (a bottle dryer, a snow shovel, among others) a name: “readymade.” Those industrially produced items became artworks by being chosen by the artist and extracted from their function as useful things. Their selection was not supposed to be subjective and was instead guided by the “beauty of indifference,” thus taking art out of the aesthetic realm and out of a question of either good or bad taste. By being mass-produced and able to be duplicated, they could avoid what the artist called “the cult of uniqueness, of art with a capital ‘A’.”

With the readymade, Duchamp proposed that the creative act did not lie anymore in the crafting of an object or in that object’s singular originality, but rather in its selection and in its transfer from everyday life to the art world—through the signature of the artist, its title, and its display in an art institution. Fountain, the name he gave to the porcelain urinal that he signed with the pseudonym R. Mutt and attempted to exhibit at the Society of Independent Artists Exhibition of 1917, was rejected for not being art. It went on to become, in time, the most famous example of the way Duchamp questioned the definitions of the work of art and the role of the institutions that judge them. The history of art would be changed forever by the gesture.

None of the “original” readymades exist today as all were lost, thrown away, or broken in their early years of existence; only replicas that Duchamp made and authorized during his lifetime are shown in museums and exhibitions around the world. On view here are various replicas of the readymades that the artist made in 1964.


1 Fountain, 1917 / 1964. Porcelain urinal,  36 x 48 x 61 cm, C.LZ

2 Marcel Duchamp, Beatrice Wood and Henri-Pierre Roché The Blind Man, No. 2, New York, May 1917. C.DF

3 Alfred Stieglitz, Photograph of Fountain, 1917. Vintage gelatin silver print,  23,5 x 18 cm, S.MD

4 Porte-bouteilles ou Séchoir à bouteilles (Bottle Dryer) ca. 1921. Galvanizad iron,

 50 x 33 cm, P.c

5 Porte-bouteilles ou Séchoir à bouteilles (Bottle Dryer), 1914 / 1964. Galvanized iron bottle dryer, 59 x 36.8 cm, IUAM

6 In Advance of the Broken Arm,  1915 / 1964. Aluminum, sheet metal and wood, 121.3 x 35.2 x 8.9 cm, IUAM

7 Roue de bicyclette (Bicycle Wheel),  1913 / 1964. Metal wheel mounted on painted wood stool 126.3 x 64.1 x 32 cm, IUAM

8 Trébuchet (Trap), 1917 / 1964. Wood and metal coat rack,  18.9 x 100 x 12 cm, IUAM

9 A bruit secret (With Hidden Noise), 1916 / 1964. Ball of twine, brass plates, metal, screws and paint 11.4 x 13 x 13 cm, IUAM

10 Pliant... de voyage (Traveler’s Folding Item), 1916 / 1964. Varnished cloth Underwood

typewriter cover, 23 x 43 x 5 cm, C.LZ

11 Why Not Sneeze Rrose Sélavy?,  1921. Thermometer, cuttlebone,  and 152 marble cubes in the shape of sugar lumps in a small birdcage,  13.5 x 24 x 18.7 cm, C.LZ

12 Man Ray, Why Not Sneeze Rrose Sélavy?, 1921. Vintage gelatin silver print, 23 x 18 cm, C.LZ

13 Possible, 1913 / 1958. Facsimile of one of MD’s notes, 32.5 x 25 cm, C.LZ

14 Box of 1914, 1913-14. Commercial cardboard photographic supply box containing photographic facsimiles of 16 manuscript notes, 3.8 x 25.1 x 19.9 cm, PMA. Gift of Mme.

Marcel Duchamp, 1991

15 Marcel Duchamp (Reconstruction by Jean-Hubert Martin and Julio Villani), Sculpture de voyage (Sculpture for Travelling),  1918 / 2008. Wool strong, pins, plastic bathing caps, dimensions variable, P.c

16 Man Ray, Ombres portées de readymades, 1917. Vintage gelatin silver print, 6,1 x 3,9 cm, C.LZ


Transparency / Perspective

Duchamp’s intense reading of 17th century perspectival and scientific treatises deeply informed his production starting in the 1910s. Combining an interest in optics, geometry, and perspective, he used classical perspective to test out the possibility of representing the 3rd and 4th dimension onto flat, often transparent, surfaces. The results of this experimentation are seen most clearly in his studies for and final rendition of the Large Glass. Indeed veils, diaphanous materials, and glass appear everywhere in Duchamp’s works over the years: from the dotted mesh he used to make Draft Pistons, to the glass and Kodac lens in To be looked at ..., to the shadows cast on a wall from his ready-mades, to the webbing of string in his Sculpture for Traveling, to the water and gas of Duchamp’s “Bride.” Instead of focusing vision on the surface, transparent materials allow the gaze to traverse it and thus include, as part of the visible “image,” whatever happens to be behind the glass (or gas or smoke or shadow) at the time. More than that, when light passes through glass, for instance, an image painted on it can be projected into the space of the room, exhibition space, or view in front of which it might stand, bringing the flat second dimension into the realm of the third dimension.


17 Piston de courant d’air (Draught Pistons), 1914 / 1965. Print on celluloid, 29.9 x 23.7 cm, C.LZ

18 Piston de courant d’air (Draught Pistons), 1914. Gelatin silver print, 58.8 x 50 cm, P.c

19 Fresh Widow, 1920 / 1964. Miniature reproduction with wood stand and covered with leather, 77.5 x 45 cm, C.LZ

20 Air de Paris (50cc of Paris Air), 1919 / 1964 Glass ampoule, 14.5 x 8.5 cm, C.LZ

21 Apolinère Enameled, 1917 / 1964. Paint and pencil on cardboard, 24.4 x 33.9 cm, P.c

22 Peigne (Comb), 1916 / 1964. Steel comb, with box comprised of wood and

felt, 7.9 x 18.4 cm, IUAM

23 Transition, No. 26, New York, Winter 1937. Cover of the magazine by MD, 21.5 x 15.5 cm, P.c

24 Suzanne Duchamp / Jean J. Crotti, Marcel Duchamp’s Unhappy Readymade,

c. 1919-1920. Vintage gelatin silver print, 11 x 7 cm PMA. Gift of Virginia and William Camfield, 1983

25 MD or Katherine Dreier, A regarder (l' autre côte du verre) d' un oeil, de

près, pendant presque une heure (To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of

the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour), 1918. Vintage gelatin silver print, 7,5 x 8,8 cm, C.LZ


Large Glass

Its first perspectival sketches date to 1913 but Duchamp actually began the physical labor in 1915 on what would be considered by many as his magnum opus before abandoning it in 1923, when he considered that it had reached a final stage of incompletion [definitivement inachevé]. La Mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, meme, also known as the Large Glass, is the name Duchamp gave to his transparent “precision painting” made of such uncommon materials as lead wire and dust as well as oil and varnish, mounted between glass and divided onto two panels placed above one another.

Constructed in the same period that the artist was selecting readymade objects, and involving the results of his research on perspective, optics, chance, and time, the massive and complex glasswork departs considerably from traditional painting.

The Large Glass was only “finished” when it cracked during transportation in 1926, after which Duchamp decided that the accident was part of the work. The hundreds of notes Duchamp scribbled to accompany it are necessary to decipher its story of an unattainable “Bride” in the top panel and the bevy of “Bachelors” below and the gasses, fluids, and devices that circulate in this enigmatic visual epic of failing machinery and frustrated sexuality. Now permanently installed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Large Glass was replicated in several life-size copies, including the one shown in this exhibition.


26 MD (Réplica de Ulf Linde, Henrik Samuelsson y John Stenborg), La Mariée mise à nu par ses Célibataires, même [The Large Glass], 1915-23 / 1991-92. Oil and lead wire on glass 321 x 204,3 x 111,7 cm, C.MM

27 La Mariée mise à nu par ses Célibataires, même (The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even) [first perspectival drawing of The Large Glass], 1913. Pencil on tracing cloth, 30.5 x 24.5 cm, P.c

28 MD and Man Ray, Elevage de poussière (Dust Breeding), 1920 / 1964.  Gelatin silver print, 24 x 30.5 cm, P.c

29 Man Ray, Oculist Witnesses, 1920. Vintage gelatin silver print, 23 x 18 cm, C.LZ

30 La Mariée mise à nu par ses Célibataires, même (“Marcel Coloravit”) (The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even [“Marcel Coloravit”]), 1958. Hand colored

photograph in a cardboard stand created by MD, signed 8 times at the bottom, in white ink, pencil and red pencil, protected with glass, on two metal bases as stands  30.8 x 21.2 cm, P.c

31 MD (Replica by Richard Hamilton), Oculist Witnesses, 1914-15 / 1968.  Silvered mirror on laminated glass with metal base, 63.5 x 51 cm PMA. Gift of Edna and Stanley C. Tuttlemann, 1994

32 MD (Replica by Richard Hamilton, signed “d’après Marcel Duchamp”), Sieves, 1914-15 / 1968. Screenprint on laminated glass, 63.5 x 51 cm, P.c

33 Nine Malic Moulds, 1914-15 / 1938-64. Miniature on celluloid encased in a

wooden frame, 16.8 x 27.3 cm, former collection Julien Levy, C.DF


Chance / Chess / Humor

Humor, game-playing, chess, and chance frequently turn up in Duchamp’s work, bringing lightness to an oeuvre that so many would like to incorrectly think of as completely serious and coldly conceptual.

The laws of chance were used in many pieces, including in his musical composition Erratum Musical and 3 stoppages étalon. His creation of a hand-made fake check to pay his dentist Tzank Chèque or a photocollaged bond for his gambling business Monte-Carlo Bond hint at the ways Duchamp played with art’s relationship to commodification. For him, chess escaped this conundrum, “I am still a victim of chess. It has all the beauty of art–and much more. It cannot be commercialized...” he once said, perhaps explaining why he spent so much time playing it. It was a subject of many of his pieces, and when he was in Buenos Aires during his “chess maniac” period, he even carved a set of chess pieces with only the more complicated knights made by a local cabinetmaker, Buenos Aires Chess Set.


34 Erratum Musical, 1913 / 1934. Reproduction of original musical score on double sheet of music paper, 48 x 38 cm, C.LZ

35 3 stoppages étalon (3 Standard Stoppages), 1913-14 / 1964.  Box with wood pieces, 129,2 x 28 cm, and 119.4 x 6.1; 109.1 x 6.2; 109.8 x 6.3 each piece, C.LZ

36 Obligations pour la Roulette de Monte-Carlo (Monte Carlo Bond), 1924. Photocollage on letterpress, 31.5 x 19.5 cm, P.c

37 Man Ray, Chèque Tzanck (dentiste), 1919. Vintage gelatin silver print, 23 x 18 cm, C.LZ

38 Shigeko Kubota, Marcel Duchamp and John Cage, 1970. Limited edition book

including a 33 1/3 phonograph, with a sound recording of Reunion, the 1968 chess match between MD and John Cage  22.2 x 16.3 x 2 cm, P.c

39 Buenos Aires Chess Pieces, 1918-1919. Set of 32 wooden chess pieces, between 10,3 y 6,3 cm high, P.c

40 Anonymous, MD in his studio, pipe in hand, 1945. Gelatin silver print, 25.2 x 18.9 cm, C.FK

41 Anonymous, Portrait of Marcel Duchamp in his studio, 1945. Vintage gelatin silver print, 25.3 x 20.4 cm, C.FK

42 Pocket Chess Set, 1943. Leather pocket chessboard, celluloid, pins, 16 x 10.5 cm (closed), 16 x 22 cm, P.c

43 MD and Vitaly Halberstadt, L’Opposition et les cases conjugées sont reconciliées, Bruselas, L’Echequier, 1932. Book about chess, 35 x 25 cm, P.c

44 Man Ray, Vitaly Halberstadt and MD, ca. 1932. Vintage gelatin silver print, 18 x 23 cm, C.LZ

45 Anonymous, Duchamp in Buenos Aires, 1918-1919. Vintage gelatin silver print, 16 x 18,3 cm, P.c

46 Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray playing chess, Paris, 1926. Scene from René

Clair’s film Entr’acte (1924), 16mm film transferred to DVD, black and white, silent, 22 minutes, short film fragment featuring MD projected in a loop




Duchamp tried to save art from what he called the “retinal,” that long-standing emphasis on the purely visual aspect of art. He insisted instead that artistic value stemmed from conceptual as much as—if not more than—visual perception. This thinking led him, paradoxically, to intense experiments on the manipulation of vision.

In the 1920s and ‘30s, Duchamp constructed several quite elaborate optical machines, calling them “precision optics,” and also made one film, Anémic Cinéma, and aborted another for which only 2 stereoscopic film frames remain. He followed this with the official patenting of his Rotoreliefs in 1935, consisting of colored discs with graphic geometrical designs, which Duchamp presented at a trade fair where inventors presented their discoveries. These, like his other optical devices, produce a hypnotic illusion of space and depth that suggests expanding movement and three-dimensional space when set on motion. With them, Duchamp not only blurs the border between scientific invention and art object, but also reveals his keen preoccupation with how we perceive forms, motion, and, ultimately, the work of art.


47 MD (Replica by Per Olof Ultvedt and Magnus Wibom), Rotary Glass Plates (Precision Optics), 1920 / 1961. Metal frame, motor, glass plates, paint, plexiglass, 146 x 202 x 116 cm C.MM. Gift from Per Olof Ultvedt, Magnus Wibom, and Pontus Hulten, 1961

48 Man Ray, Atelier Marcel Duchamp, 1920. Vintage gelatin silver print, 12 x 10 cm, P.c

49 Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp with Rotary Glass Plates (Precision Optics), 1920. Vintage gelatin silver print 23,3 x 18 cm, C.LZ

50 Man Ray, Rotative Demi-Sphere, 1925. Vintage gelatin silver print, 23 x 17,5 cm, S.MD

51 MD and Man Ray, Frames from a Projected Stereoscopic Film, 1920 / 1973. Edition of a stereoscopic image with green and red spirals on two negatives, fitted in a wood case, 11 x 24.8 x 17 cm, C.LZ

52 Mantlepiece in Cadaquès, 1968. Two photograms mounted on carton, and two photographs composing two handmade stereopticon slides; 1st. group 7 x 10.2 cm each; 2nd. group 23 x 18.5 cm each, C.LZ

53 MD, Man Ray and Marc Allégret, Anémic Cinéma, 1925-1926. Film transferred to DVD, 7 minutes, P.c

54 William Copley, S.M.S., New York, April 2, 1968. Magazine published by

William Copley with cover designed by MD, 27.5 x 17.5cm, P.c

55 Minotaure, Vol. 2, No. 6, Paris, Winter 1934-1935. Magazine with front and back covers designed by MD,  32.5 x 26 cm, C.DF

56 Cahiers d’Art, Vol. 11, No. 1-2, Paris, 1936. Cover of the magazine by MD, 31.5 x 24.5 cm, P.c

57 Rotoreliefs (Optical disks), 1935 / 1965. Set of 6 cardboard disks (from the 1963 edition), printed on both sides in color offset lithography, mounted on a wooden box covered in velvet, motor 220v. (5 replicas + 1 original exhibited), P.c



Duchamp often called eroticism “the basis of everything” and the single most important influence on his work. Indeed, the name of his female alter ego, Rrose Sélavy, who made her debut in 1920, is based on the phrase Eros c’est la vie (Eros is life). This eroticism took many different forms–from Duchamp’s early paintings that take the theme of the virgin Bride as their subject, to the provocative, molded objects like Feuille de vigne femelle and Coin de chasteté that he made in the 1950s while he was secretly building his massive erotic tableau, Etant donnés... Perhaps the most complex and cryptic manifestation of Duchamp’s interest in eros, however, can be found in his notes for The Large Glass, which describe the relationship of sexual desire and unrequited love between a motor/Bride and her nine masturbating molds/Bachelors.



In 1920, Duchamp decided he wanted to create an alter-ego for himself, posing in make-up, a woman’s hat and fur coat for his friend Man Ray’s camera to consecrate his incarnation as Rrose Sélavy. “She” not only appeared in photographs, but also signed her name to a book of lewd puns, was the declared author of Anémic Cinéma, and, much later, appeared as a mannequin in the 1938 Exposition International du Surréalisme, wearing Duchamp’s jacket and shoes with her name signed at her naked crotch. Duchamp made an appearance as one other female just long enough for Man Ray to create the ideal marketing photograph to grace the outside of Duchamp’s unique creation of a perfume bottle, Belle Haleine: Eau de violette. This performative side to Duchamp’s work–the confusion of male-female roles, the playfulness, and the implicit eroticism—present throughout his oeuvre is also visible in Duchamp’s one theatrical appearance as “Adam” stripped bare in Rene Clair’s Relâche in 1924.


58 L.H.O.O.Q. 1919 / 1964. Pencil on printed reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa; printed lettering obscured in white gouache. Inscribed bottom center, below printed title La Joconde, in pencil: L.H.O.O.Q., edition of 38 replicas printed to be inserted in Pierre de Massot’s Marcel Duchamp, propos et souvenirs 30.1 x 23 cm, P.c

59 Feuille de vigne femelle (Female Fig Leaf) [paper reproduction], 1966. Hand-colored carton cut-out 10.5 x 15.5 cm, C.LZ

60 Coin de chasteté (Wedge of Chastity), 1954. Two part sculpture: Galvanized plaster for the wedge and dental plastic for the lower part, 6 x 8.6 x 4.2 cm, P.c

61 Object-dard (Dart-Object), 1951. Galvanized plaster with inlaid lead rib, 7.5 x 20.1 x 6 cm, P.c

62 Feuille de vigne femelle (Female Fig Leaf), 1950. Painted plaster, 9 x 14 x 12.5 cm, P.c

63 Moule à pièces pour “Feuille de vigne femelle” (Mold in pieces for “Female Fig Leaf”), 1950-51. Plaster mold in 5 pieces, 13.5 x 27 x 23.5 cm, MNCP 1990

65 Marcel Duchamp and Mimi Parent, Boîte Alerte!, 1959. Catalogue for the 1959 Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme, 25 x 21 cm, P.c

66 Couple of Laundress’ Aprons, 1959. Two potholders (“male” and “female”)

made of cloth and fur, 20.3 x 17.7 and 20.5 x 19.8 cm, P.c

67 À l’Infinitif [The White Box], 1967. Plexiglass covered box  containing envelopes with 79 facsimile notes dating from 1912-23, 7.6 x 33.3 x 29.2 cm, P.c

68 MD and Georges Hugnet, Non Vouloir, no. 4, Paris, 1941. Publication including MD’s frontispiece, mustache, and beard of L.H.O.O.Q. 9.5 x 14.6 cm, P.c

69 L.H.O.O.Q., 1919 / 1930. Pencil on printed reproduction of Leonardo Da

Vinci’s Mona Lisa 61.5 x 49.5 cm, print 48 x 33 cm, MNCP 2005

70 Man Ray, Untitled [Photograph of MD and Bronja Perlmutter as Adam and

Eve in Relâche], 1924. Vintage gelatin silver print, 25.7 x 20 cm, C.LZ

71 Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp as Belle Haleine, 1921. Vintage gelatin silver

print, 17,5 x 12,5 cm, P.c

72 Man Ray, Portrait of Rrose Sélavy?, 1921 / 1924-25. Gelatin silver print

with cut corners, hand-retouched with black ink and pencil by MD, 13.5 x 10.7 cm, P.c

73 Raoul Ubac, Mannequin surréaliste (Rrose Sélavy, mannequin dressed by Marcel Duchamp), 1938. Gelatin silver print 23.2 x 17.2cm Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

74 Maya Deren, Storefront of the Gotham Book Mart, New York. MD working for

the presentation of Arcane 17, 1945. Gelatin silver print, 25.5 x 21cm, BK

75 Maya Deren, Storefront of the Gotham Book Mart, New York, 1945. Gelatin

silver print, 11.7 x 18.7 cm, BK

76 Maya Deren, Storefront of the Gotham Book Mart, New York, 1945. Gelatin

silver print, 15,7 x 12 cm, BK

77 The Bec Auer, 1968. Copper etching on Japan vellum 50.5 x 32.5 cm, P.c

78 Eau et gaz à tous les étages, 1958. Linen-covered box with loose reproductions of MD, 35 x 26.8 x 8 cm, P.c

79 Charles Henri Ford, View, vol. 5, no. 1, New York, March 1945. Magazine with cover by MD, 30.5 x 23 cm, P.c

80 André Breton, Young Cherry Trees Secured Against Hares,New York, 1946. Text by André Breton; cover and jacket design by MD, 24 x 16 cm, P.c

81 David Hare, VVV, Almanac for 1943, no. 2-3, New York, 1943. Magazine with special issue by André Breton, MD, and Max Ernst. Cover by MD with chicken wire and cardboard cut out 28.5 x 22 x 1.5cm, C.DF

82 David Hare, VVV, Almanac for 1943, no. 2-3, New York, 1943. Magazine with special issue by André Breton, MD, and Max Ernst. Cover by MD with chicken wire and cardboard cut out 28.5 x 22 x 1.5cm, C.LZ

83 André Breton, Yves Tanguy par André Breton, 1946. Book published by the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York. Design and typography by MD, 35 x 22.8cm P.c

84 Bouche-Évier, 1964 / 1967. Polished bronze sink stopper Edition of 100 copies 7.5 cm. diameter x 0.5 thick, C.DF

85 Study for “The Bride” in Étant donnés: 1. La chute d’eau / 2. Le gaz d’éclairage (Given: 1. The Waterfall / 2. The Illuminating Gas), 1950. Gouache on transparent perforated plexiglas 91.3 x 55.9 cm, C.JMM


Originality/ Reproduction

Throughout his life, Duchamp questioned the idea that something could only be considered an artwork by being unique and auratic. He did this by elevating ready-made store bought items to the status of art but also by blurring the distinction between the copy and the original. In 1919, he bought a cheap reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa on which he drew a moustache and a beard and added his own signature and a new title, L.H.O.O.Q. In 1931, he famously repeated the gesture, thus turning mass reproductions of one of art history’s most famous artworks into iconic, multiple, signed Duchampian “originals.” Even before that though, in 1913, Duchamp began what would be a long effort to copy his own entire artistic output, first in the form of the photographs that Duchamp took of his notes, collected in the Box of 1914. Then, for most of the 1930s, he was busy making exact facsimiles of his scribbled notes, collecting them in the so-called Green Box. Immediately after this, he turned to making a “portable museum,” La Boîte-en-valise, with miniature copies of almost every artwork he had ever made. Duchamp took great pains to craft 300 tiny porcelain urinals or reduced-size versions of his Large Glass on celluloid, often using obsolete artisanal methods to make paradoxically hand-made  reproductions. And during the process, Duchamp issued several of the reproductions, miniature copies of Mariée or Nude Descending a Staircase, for instance, as new bonafide artworks in their own right. As if to confuse the line between original and copy further, each of the deluxe models made for special friends and patrons included one original artwork fitted on the inside of the suitcase, like the self-portrait composed of hair he made for Roberto Matta’s Boîte-en-valise. Finally, in the 1950s and 1960s, he made multiple editions of replicas of his original readymades. Thus, until the very end, the effort he began in the 1910s to shake the distinctions between the original and the copy—and the institutions like the museum meant to uphold these distinctions—continued.


86 Miniature of La Mariée Reproduction of Mariée (1912), 1937. Collotype reproduction on paper, with a postage stamp signed by MD at the bottom 33,8 x 19,5 cm, C.DF

87 Miniature of La Mariée Reproduction of Mariée (1912), 1937. Collotype

reproduction on paper, varnished and attached to canvas 30,5 x 20,5 cm, C.DF

88 Miniature of Nu descendant un escalier, 1937. Brass printing plates used to make the reproduction of Nu descendant un escalier no 2 (1912) 29,5 x 20,5 cm, C.DF

89 Miniature of Nu descendant un escalier Reproduction of 1937. of Nu descendant un escalier no 2 (1912). Collotype reproduction on paper, varnished and attached to canvas 34 x 20,5 cm, C.DF

90 Air de Paris (50cc. of Paris Air), 1919 / 1939. Glass miniature of the original, made for the Boîte-en-valise 4 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm, C.DF

91 Fountain [first cast porcelain miniature model of urinal for the Boîte-en-valise, inscribed R.MUTT / 1917], 1938 Glazed porcelain and paint 7.6 x 5.8 x 4.5 cm P.c

92 The Large Glass [miniature reproduction], 1944. Pochoir on celuloide, mounted between two glass pieces on a wooden base 37,5 x 23,5 cm, P.c

93 Man Ray? Fotografías de la Boîte-en-valise de Marcel Duchamp, 1941. Vintage gelatin silver print 23 x 18 cm, C.LZ

94 De ou par Marcel Duchamp ou Rrose Sélavy, [Boîte-en-valise], 1935-41 / 1946. (Box-in-a-valise) Boîte-en-valise series A. Deluxe edition: XIII/XX, red leather valise filled with 69 items and one original inscribed to Roberto Matta 41 x 38.5 x 9.8 cm, P.c

95 La Mariée mise à nu par ses Célibataires, même (The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even [The Green Box]), 1934. Green-flocked cardboard box containing 93 facsimile notes, drawings, and photographs by MD. Deluxe edition of 20 copies bears “MD” in copper on outside and contains one original note 33.2 x 28 x 2.5 cm C.LZ

96 La Mariée mise à nu par ses Célibataires, même (The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even [The Green Box]), 1934. Green-flocked cardboard box containing

93 facsimile notes, drawings, and photographs by MD. Edition of 300 copies 33.2 x 28 x 2.5 cm, P.c

97 Green Box Papers (Original Plates), 1934-35. Printing plates used to make the facsimiles contained in The Green Box 68 x 46 x 7.5 cm, P.c

98 Some French Moderns Says McBride, 1922 Texts  and compilation by Henry

McBride. Layout and design by MD, 30 x 25.5 x 3 cm, C.LZ

99 Some French Moderns Says McBride, 1922. Texts and compilation by Henry McBride. Layout and design by MD, 30 x 25.5 x 3 cm, S.MD

100 Anonymous? Frederick Kiesler? Cut out of MD hand print, 1945. Photogram 21.5 x 18 cm, C.FK

101 Self-Portrait in Profile, 1957 / 1967. Serigraph of original collage, Sheet 29.5 x 23 cm Image 14.9 x 12.8 cm, C.DF



Duchamp as “curator”

Crucial to Duchamp’s practice lies a preoccupation with the exhibition and display—how objects occupy space, how they transform and are transformed by their context, and how they shift or condition desire and perception. A tribute to what could be called his role in them as “curator” culminates this exhibition even as it reveals concerns that were present throughout his entire oeuvre—from his 1910s positioning of readymade objects in his apartment, to his design of the exhibition spaces from the 1930s to ’60s for the Surrealists, to his creation of portable museums of his artworks, to his final project for a museum, Etant donnés, 1° la chute d’eau, 2°le gaz d’éclairage.


1935–1942: Boîte-en-valise 

Overlapping with his designing of exhibition spaces for the Surrealists, Duchamp conceived of a project to produce 300 copies of a miniature exhibition of nearly his entire artistic output. For it, he made elaborate and painstaking copies on paper and miniature sculptural replicas of what he considered his major artworks (including the Large Glass, Fountain, and the Nude Descending a Staircase), gathering them into a complex architecture in a box. Calling it his “portable museum,” Duchamp took on the role of curator, envisioning the display systems, museum-like labels for each reproduction, and creating deliberate connections between the artworks through their order and display.

The thoroughly modern idea of reproducing his artworks in a mini retrospective extends Duchamp’s insistent questioning throughout his oeuvre of authorship, authenticity, and conventional exhibition displays.


102 De ou par Marcel Duchamp ou Rrose Sélavy, [Boîte-en-valise] 1935-41 / 1966-1971. Boîte-en-valise series D.  Outside green linen, contains 68 items Edition of 30 boxes 41.6 x 38.5 x 9.9 cm, ex-col. Andy Warhol, P.c


1917–1918: Duchamp’s Atelier. 33 West 67th Street.

One could say that Duchamp’s studio was, throughout his life, a place not only of artistic production but also of experimentation and display. Photographs of one of his early studio spaces at 33 West 67th Street in New York reveal, for instance, that in the period in which Duchamp is “inventing” the readymades, a shiny porcelain urinal was hung over a doorway, a coat rack was nailed to floor, and a bicycle wheel spun on a stool in the middle of the room. His atelier appeared to be in careless disorder but the placement of some utilitarian objects was highly meaningful. By testing out ways of displaying the mass-produced objects so that their use value was denied, and their role as objects to be noticed—even contemplated— was emphasized, Duchamp turned his studio space into a kind of primordial space of exhibition.

Years later, when he wanted to reproduce an image his readymade Trébuchet [trap, also meaning “to trip”], for instance, he turned to a photo he had of his New York studio and manipulated it so as to underscore the distinctive strangeness of the positioning of the readymade on the floor—which is, after all, what made an ordinary coat rack into a trap to be tripped over.


103 Henri Pierre Roché, Untitled [Series of 7 photographs of Marcel Duchamp’s

studio, 33 West 67th Street, New York], 1916–1918 Vintage gelatin silver prints 4.2 x 6.8 cm each, P.c

104 Henri Pierre Roché, Untitled [Marcel Duchamp’s studio at 33 West 67th Street, New York], 1917–1918 Vintage gelatin silver print 6.9 x 8.2 cm, S.MD

105 Untitled [suite of three studies for Trébuchet for the Boîte-en-valise], 1917-1918 / 1940. One retouched photograph, including a line drawing; “Trébuchet” printed

on gummed paper, cut out and inserted; one proof with pochoir coloring labeled “mòdele” Retouched photograph 19 x 26.6 cm, line drawing 7.5 x 11.2 cm, gummed paper 12 x 21.4 cm (TBC); proof 12 x 21.4 cm, S.MD


1938: Exposition internationale du surréalisme

January 17-February 24, 1938

Galerie Beaux-Arts. 140, rue du Faubourg

Saint-Honoré, Paris

For the first Exposition internationale du surréalisme to be held in Paris, Surrealist leaders André Breton and Paul Eluard asked Marcel Duchamp to design the exhibition space. Duchamp didn’t belong to the Surrealist movement but he did often agree to show his art in their group shows and, for the first time on this occasion he played the role of “generator-arbitrator” of ideas for the exhibition. The result was no ordinary hanging of paintings on the wall. Duchamp turned the posh interior of the Galerie Beaux-Arts in to a grotto-like environment. He hung 1200 coal sacks over the entire ceiling, installed department store revolving doors in the center of the exhibition rooms, and turned out the lights in the space. Duchamp’s transformations inspired other artists to carpet the floor with dirt and dead leaves, to create a small marsh in the center of one room, and install a row of mannequins, each dressed by the participating artists, along the entrance corridor. For the opening, visitors brought into the darkened space made their way through the exhibition and could view the artworks by the light of flashlights handed out at the entrance.


106 Roger Schall, Installation views of the exhibition, 1938 / c. 1950. Contact sheet with gelatin silver prints, printed later 30 x 40 cm, RS

107 Anonymous, Untitled [Visitors viewing works by flashlight at the Exposition, 1938. Gelatin silver print 14.6 x 10.5 cm, Courtesy ZG

108 Denise Bellon, Installation view of the exhibition, 1938 / 2004. Gelatin silver print, printed later, format 24 x 30 cm, image 21.5 x 22.5 cm, DB

109 Denise Bellon, Installation view of the exhibition, 1938 / 1980 Gelatin silver print, printed later, format 24 x 30cm, image 21.5 x 22.5cm, DB


1942: First Papers of Surrealism

October 14-November 7, 1942 Whitelaw Reid Mansion. 451 Madison Avenue, New York

After having arrived in New York from war-torn France with many emigrating artists, Duchamp was asked by André Breton to again design the space of a Surrealist exhibition. Called First Papers of Surrealism, a sly reference to the immigration papers that the artists had to file upon entering the US, the show was meant to benefit the French Relief Society. In response to the invitation and the meager means at his disposal, Duchamp devised a very simple but striking exhibition design that can not help make one think of many of Duchamp’s previous artworks, including the lines of cracks in his Large Glass or the suspended lines of Sculpture for Traveling. For the exhibition, he installed the exhibition’s paintings on free-standing white panels and then suspended a web of ordinary store-bought string across and throughout the elegantly gilded space. The string criss-crossed in front of and between the artworks, blocking access to them, much to the dismay of many participating artists. For the opening night, Duchamp asked some children to play ball in the middle of the exhibition during the opening. When they were asked to stop or questioned, they had been instructed to answer: Marcel Duchamp said it was all right.


110 First Papers of Surrealism, New York, 1942. Catalogue to accompany the exhibition, 26.6 x 18.4 cm, C.DF

111 Anonymous, Untitled [Swiss cheese], 1942. Vintage gelatin silver print used in the exhibition catalogue cover, 25 x 20 cm, C.DF

112 John D. Schiff, Installation view of the exhibition showing Duchamp’s Sixteen Miles of String Installation, 1942. Gelatin silver print 19.3 x 25.4 cm, PMA. Donación de Jacqueline, Paul y Peter Matisse en memoria de su madre Alexina Duchamp

113 Arnold Newman, MD, 1942. Gelatin silver print 24.1 x 15.8cm, PMA Donación de R. Sturgis y Marion B. F. Ingersoll, 1945

114 Frederick Kiesler, Du mirage des réseaux circomflexes en peinture, 1945. Pull-out page from View magazine, special MD issue (2 copies exhibited), 30.5 x 22.5 cm, C.FK

115 Maya Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon 1943. 16mm film transferred to DVD, black and white, silent, 14 minutes Short film fragment featuring MD projected in a loop


1947: Le Surréalisme en 1947

July 7-September 30, 1947

Galerie Maeght. 13, rue de Teheran, Paris

For Le Surréalisme en 1947, held at the Galerie Maeght in Paris and marking the Surrealists return to Europe after the war, André Breton turned to Duchamp once again to conceive of the design of the exhibition space. Although he remained in New York, Duchamp conceived of an exhibition space that included a room with “alters” designed by participating artists, a Billiard table and continuously falling water in the middle of one of the rooms, and green fabric lined walls throughout. His own contribution included one of the alters and, Le Rayon vert [The Green Ray], a peephole through which one could see an optical illusion, although most visitors didn’t notice the hole in the wall at all. Architect Frederick Kiesler and painter Roberta Matta went to Paris to execute the design. From New York, Duchamp designed the unusual cover for the deluxe edition of the catalogue, hand-painting 999 false foam breasts and attaching them with velvet to the catalogue covers with the help of Surrealist Enrico Donati and entitling them Prière de toucher [Please Touch].


116 Willy Maywald, Installation view of Frederick Kiesler’s Anti-Tabu with MD’s Le Rayon vert, 1947. Gelatin silver print 26.8 x 23.5 cm, C.FK

117 Denise Bellon, Detail of Le Rayon vert by MD, Galerie Maeght, Paris, 1947. Gelatin silver print 18 x 24.5 cm, DB

118 Willy Maywald, Installation view of MD's altar Refaire le passé, 1947. Gelatin silver print, 29.5 x 23.5 cm, C.FK


1959: Exposition internationale du Surréalisme

December 15, 1959-February 15, 1960

Galerie Daniel Cordier. 8, rue Miromesnil, Paris

For the “Eros” theme of the Exposition internationale du Surréalisme at the Galerie Daniel Cordier in Paris, Duchamp conceived of the pulsating “breathing” green velvet-lined walls that served as the main passageway into the darkened exhibition space that was meant to be a kind of vaginal-corporeal interior. Working with architect Pierre Faucheux and several participating members of the Surrealist movement, Duchamp’s ideas for the exhibition design emerged after long discussions about how to transform the throbbing movement of the Rotoreliefs into an architectural scale.

The air was perfumed, the floor was lined with sand, and speakers emitted the sound of artist Radovan Ivsic’s recording of women’s heavy breathing throughout. With artist Mimi Parent, Duchamp designed the exhibition catalogues entitled Boite Alerte!, and for the deluxe copies reserved for the participating artists, he had “male” and “female” pot holders made.


119 Adrian Dax, Publication de documents graphiques de caractère scientifiques, p.1intitulée “Aménagement”, 1959. Manuscript lettre from Adrian Dax to André

Breton regarding the preparations for the 1959, 26.9 x 20.9 cm, BK

120 Roger Van Hecke, Accrochage Galerie Cordier, installation view of the

exhibition, 1959. Gelatin silver print, 24 x 18.3 cm, BK

121 Denise Bellon, Installation view of the exhibition, 1959 / 1980. Gelatin

silver print, printed later, signed by Bellon on the back 24 x 30 cm, DB

122 Pierre Faucheux, Plan of the Galerie Daniel Cordier, 1959. Ink and color crayons on carton, with notes on the back by André Breton “Premier projet de Pierre Faucheux”

35.2 x 66 cm, BK


1946–1966: Etant donnés...

Duchamp spent the last two decades of his life, from 1946 to 1966, secretly building a elaborate erotic tableau vivant entitled, Etant donnés: 1° la chute d’eau, 2° le gaz d’éclairage, which only became known to the public (and even to many of the artist’s closest friends and family), according to Duchamp’s instructions, after his death when it entered a museum. The installation, now permanently displayed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is a mixed-media diorama in a room closed off by a large wooden door and visible through two small eye-holes made in the door.

Through them, one sees a hyper-realistic scene including a life-size female nude sculpture lying with her legs spread and holding a gas lamp in a landscape with a shimmering waterfall behind. Arguably one of the twentieth century’s most unusual and enigmatic artworks, Etant donnés... and the particular experience of it are inseparable from the container in which it is installed (the museum, that stately conservative institution of “masterpieces”). As a viewer, bent and peering into the eye holes, one cannot help feeling like a voyeur peeping at a nude that could be another manifestation of the Large Glass’s “Bride,” still unreachable to the “Bachelor” (embodied by the viewer), blocked by the door. In his final artwork, Duchamp brought together many of his persistent themes, including the nude, the waterfall, gas, optical illusion, perspective, photography, eroticism, and exhibition display. A projection with a virtual reproduction of the piece is on view in this exhibition to give spectators some idea of the last spectacle that Duchamp left behind.


123 MD (Virtual reproduction by Yukio Fujimoto and Yukihiro Hirayoshi), Étant donnés: 1. La chute d’eau / 2. Le gaz d’éclairage (Given: 1. The Waterfall / 2. The Illuminating Gas), 1946-66 / 2004. Video and stereo pair photogram, Cortesía PMA.


Exhibition Lenders

_Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Paris

_Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre de Creation Industrielle, Paris

_David Fleiss Collection, Paris

_Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington

_Austrian Frederick and Lilian Kiesler Private Foundation, Vienna

_Les Films de L’Équinox, Fonds Photographique Denise Bellon, Paris

_Jacqueline Matisse Monnier, Villiers Sous Grez

_Moderna Museet, Stockholm

_Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris

_Passage de Retz, Paris

_Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

_Jean-Frédéric Schall Collection, Paris

_Succession Marcel Duchamp, Villiers Sous Grez

_Zabriskie Gallery, New York

_Luisella Zignone Collection, Strona Biellese


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