Catalogue


Unpacking Duchamp : art in transit /
Dalia Judovitz.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1995.
description
x, 308 p. : ill. ; 27 cm.
ISBN
0520088093
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1995.
isbn
0520088093
catalogue key
1434935
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [273]-290) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Transit, transitional, transition: Dalia Judovitz catches Marcel Duchamp on the run with his art in a suitcase and his thought all boxed and ready to go. . . . She demonstrates how the theme of transition, reappearing from work to work, makes each piece reproduce some other piece, while all continue to exemplify an original which can no longer be found and which has no creator."--Jean-FranÇois Lyotard
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1996-03:
The enigmatic Marcel Duchamp continues to challenge all who probe his secrets. Judovitz's daunting venture, to "unpack" their protean implications, is too intricate and subtle to summarize briefly, so the barest outline of her topics in this densely argued treatise must suffice. In the first of five chapters, Judovitz (French and Italian, Emory Univ.) traces his early efforts as a painter, climaxed in the infamous Nude Descending ... No 2 (1912) and his other Cubist-related works. Soon abandoning even such scantly traditional gestures toward pictorial imagery, Duchamp then turned to cartoons, photos, and other alternative mediums, before undertaking yet more radical departures in The Large Glass (1915-23), which the author sees as a "compendium of all his previous efforts." Next, she discusses Duchamp's visual and linguistic puns and his readymades, as personal "critiques" of the classic notions of art. She then ponders his challenges to accepted notions of artistic and economic "value," in subsequent forays into novel realms of expression that remarkably anticipated postmodernism. Duchamp's ingrained delight in contradiction and paradox was ultimately memorialized in the large assemblage that he and his wife Teeny secretly prepared over the years 1956-66, when he was presumed to be no longer active as an artist. Perhaps the author's most engaging discussion of all is her postscript, an epitaphic summation of her subject's lifetime of mercurial activity. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate through professional collections. F. A. Trapp; emeritus, Amherst College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, March 1996
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Summaries
Main Description
Perhaps no twentieth-century artist utilized puns and linguistic ambiguity with greater effect--and greater controversy--than Marcel Duchamp. Through a careful "unpacking" of his major works, Dalia Judovitz finds that Duchamp may well have the last laugh. She examines how he interpreted notions of mechanical reproduction in order to redefine the meaning and value of the art object, the artist, and artistic production. Judovitz begins with Duchamp's supposed abandonment of painting and his subsequent return to material that mimics art without being readily classifiable as such. Her book questions his paradoxical renunciation of pictorial and artistic conventions while continuing to evoke and speculatively draw upon them. She offers insightful analyses of his major works including The Large Glass, Fountainand Given 1) the waterfall, 2) the illuminating gas. Duchamp, a poser and solver of problems, occupied himself with issues of genre, gender, and representation. His puns, double entendres, and word games become poetic machines, all part of his intellectual quest for the very limits of nature, culture, and perception. Judovitz demonstrates how Duchamp's redefinition of artistic modes of production through reproduction opens up modernism to more speculative explorations, while clearing the ground for the aesthetic of appropriation central to postmodernism.
Long Description
Perhaps no twentieth-century artist utilized puns and linguistic ambiguity with greater effect--and greater controversy--than Marcel Duchamp. Through a careful "unpacking" of his major works, Dalia Judovitz finds that Duchamp may well have the last laugh. She examines how he interpreted notions of mechanical reproduction in order to redefine the meaning and value of the art object, the artist, and artistic production. Judovitz begins with Duchamp's supposed abandonment of painting and his subsequent return to material that mimics art without being readily classifiable as such. Her book questions his paradoxical renunciation of pictorial and artistic conventions while continuing to evoke and speculatively draw upon them. She offers insightful analyses of his major works includingThe Large Glass,FountainandGiven 1) the waterfall, 2) the illuminating gas. Duchamp, a poser and solver of problems, occupied himself with issues of genre, gender, and representation. His puns, double entendres, and word games become poetic machines, all part of his intellectual quest for the very limits of nature, culture, and perception. Judovitz demonstrates how Duchamp's redefinition of artistic modes of production through reproduction opens up modernism to more speculative explorations, while clearing the ground for the aesthetic of appropriation central to postmodernism.

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