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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something Amusing, 10 Mar. 2002
This review is from: Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp (Paperback)
Robert Motherwell - in the introduction to this book - writes that Marcel Duchamp was 'the great saboteur, the relentless enemy of painterly painting...'. Well, he was - and he wasn't. Duchamp was a saboteur of himself as much as anything. And casting him in this light has almost become a 'conventional wisdom'. His ideas in relation to what he termed the 'retinal shudder' were far more nuanced than what this comment of Motherwell's implies here. My own copy of this book sprouts torn up bits of post-it note and other markers and scribbles - sprouting like growths from a potato left in the cupboard for too long. It is a kind of biblical text for some scholars. But in that sense it should also be approached with the caution that Marcel himself would have employed.
Duchamp was the master of the short-circuit of expectation - and if you buy this book, you should, perhaps, read it against that background. He understood that Language and the Visual married revelation to the opaque - and that this almost 'ontological condition' could be utilised as a source of some amusement (Pierre Cabanne here sometimes plays the role of the unwitting 'straight man' to Duchamp's meta-ironies...).
And this book IS very funny. It will help you to realise why so many of those contemporary artists who - to a lesser or greater degree claim some kind of 'familial' link to Marcel Duchamp have got their genealogy so very wrong. Enjoy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must For All Art Historians and Students, 21 Nov. 2009
Ms. P. C. Birchall (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp (Paperback)
This book is a revelation and I wish I had known about it when I was at art college doing a degree in art history/philosophy/studio practice. This book proves how far Duchamp was ahead of the game during his era, but what makes it all the more poignant is the cleverness in his playing of the game and how he saw through successive style movements and realised how one could be accidently popular/fashionable re: the critics and gallery owners of the time. Marcel never hung out with the crowd, hated opening nights and was lazy, he only did what he wanted to do. This book reveals many things and is an essential bible for all arts people, but there is still a mystery at the core and that was his mastery. There is no art without mystery and Marcel's mystery was his intellect.

Another bonus of this book is that it is revealing and succinct, it does not drag on and on. for any art student etc. they will learn a lot about contemporary art in quick time. This is not a tome, but it is short and revelatory and will stay with you longer than Gombrich.

Saatchi and Saatchi art, Tate Prize and most art nowadays lives in a crude hangover of Duchamp's piercing foresight. We latched on to him, never quite understood him and have never recovered from him. This book provides you with the mystery of him and all the cheap dishonest permutations since.

This book is a decoding and encoding of ready made art, minimal art, installation art and is a must read for all art historians and students.
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Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp
Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp by Pierre Cabanne (Paperback - 1 May 1988)
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