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Drawing on Art

Duchamp and Company

Dalia Judovitz

Publication Year: 2010

Marcel Duchamp’s 1919 readymade, L.H.O.O.Q., which he created by drawing a moustache and goatee on a commercial reproduction of the Mona Lisa, precipitated a radical reevaluation of the meaning of art, the process of art making, and the role of the artist. In Drawing on Art, Dalia Judovitz explores the central importance of appropriation, collaboration, influence, and play in Duchamp’s work—and in Dada and Surrealist art more broadly—to show how the concept of art itself became the critical fuel and springboard for questioning art’s fundamental premises.
 
Judovitz argues that rather than simply negating art, Duchamp’s readymades and later works, including films and conceptual pieces, demonstrate the impossibility of defining art in the first place. Through his readymades, for instance, Duchamp explicitly critiqued the commodification of art and inaugurated a profound shift from valuing art for its visual appearance to understanding the significance of its mode of public presentation. And if Duchamp literally drew on art, he also did so figuratively, thus raising questions of creativity and artistic influence. Equally destabilizing, Judovitz writes, was Duchamp’s idea that viewers actively participate in the creation of the art they are viewing.
 
In addition to close readings ranging across Duchamp’s oeuvre, even his neglected works on chess, Judovitz provides interpretations of works by other figures who affected Duchamp’s thinking and collaborated with him, notably Francis Picabia, Man Ray, and Salvador Dalí, as well as artists who later appropriated and redeployed these gestures, such as Enrico Baj, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Richard Wilson. As Judovitz makes clear, these associations become paradigmatic of a new, collective way of thinking about artistic production that decisively overturns the myth of artistic genius.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. 8-9

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-xii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

This book was inspired by a conversation with Jacqueline Matisse Monnier at a conference organized by William Camfield at Rice University in Houston in 1997 in celebration of Marcel Duchamp’s groundbreaking presentation “The Creative Act” (1957). Her thoughtful remarks and generosity of spirit opened up for me new possibilities for engaging with Duchamp’s works in terms of questions of creativity and collaboration. ...

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Introduction: Drawing on Art and Artists

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pp. xv-xxx

The title Drawing on Art seems at first sight a bit puzzling, given its competing literal and figurative meanings. Does it mean defacing works of art, as Marcel Duchamp did in his readymade L.H.O.O.Q. (1919) by adding a delicately drawn moustache and a goatee to a commercial reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (c. 1503–1506)? Or does the appeal to this literal gesture not preclude and indeed playfully coexist with the figurative meaning of this expression ...

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1. Critiques of the Ocular: Duchamp and Paris Dada

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pp. 1-56

Critical discussions of the Paris Dada movement often tend to relegate it to the margins of art history, as a period of transition leading to the emergence of Surrealism. In his catalog to the seminal exhibition Dada, Surrealism, and Their Heritage, William S. Rubin remarked, “Paris Dada is important primarily as the formative environment of the men and ideas that would soon constitute Surrealism.” ...

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2. The Spectacle of Film: Duchamp and Dada Experiments

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pp. 57-100

The origins of Dada were multiple; so were its endings. The numerous signs of its putative demise were staged in the midst of the activities that characterized the Paris Dada movement in 1922–1923. According to Elmer Peterson, the attempts to kill off Dada were many, one of the most notable being André Breton’s failed attempt in 1992 to organize the Congrès de Paris, an international meeting whose aim was to provide intellectual direction and defense for the modern spirit.¹ ...

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3. Endgame Strategies: Art, Chess, and Creativity

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pp. 101-146

Marcel Duchamp’s artistic career has often confounded both his admirers and critics. His rapid passage through different pictorial idioms led him to leave painting largely behind by 1913, and in 1923 it culminated in his supposed abandonment of art in favor of chess.¹ Duchamp’s artistic career started in 1910 when he began to publicly exhibit paintings whose representational character reflected the influence of Paul Cézanne and of the Fauvists. ...

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4. Pointing Fingers: Dali’s Homage to Duchamp

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pp. 147-179

Among Salvador Dalí’s extensive legacy of artworks is a chess set designed for the American Chess Foundation upon the establishment of the Marcel Duchamp Institute for the noncommercial advancement of chess in America.¹ Chess Set (1964–1971; Figure 29) was shown at the exhibition Homage to Caïssa (at the Cordier & Ekstrom Gallery, New York, February 1966), along with works by Man Ray, Max Ernst, and others, and with Duchamp’s chess work Homage to Caïssa.² ...

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5. The Apparatus of Spectatorship: Duchamp, Matta-Clark, and Wilson

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pp. 181-218

Marcel Duchamp’s critique and ultimate abandonment of the retinal aspects of painting has emerged over time as one of his most influential gestures.¹ His reaction against a purely visual understanding of painting reflected his attempts to reinvest art with an intellectual dimension that would bring into play its verbal, cultural, and institutional frames of reference. ...

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Concluding Remarks: Mirrorical Returns

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pp. 219-235

This study concluded with an examination of the apparatus of spectatorship as the setup that would determine the construction of its position in the public sphere (with particular reference to the institution of the museum) in the works of Duchamp, Matta-Clark, and Wilson. It explored how the social and institutional scaffolding of spectatorship is driven by a critique of commodification implied in visual consumption that brought into play considerations ...

Notes

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pp. 237-270

Index

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pp. 271-285

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About the Author

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p. 317-317

Dalia Judovitz is National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of French at Emory University. She is the author of Unpacking Duchamp: Art in Transit, Subjectivity and Representation in Descartes: The Origins of Modernity, and The Culture of the Body: Genealogies of Modernity, ...


E-ISBN-13: 9780816673636
E-ISBN-10: 0816673632
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816665303

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2010