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The Legacy of Marcel Duchamp.

Minneapolis
Author(s): Francis M. Naumann
Source: The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 137, No. 1103 (Feb., 1995), pp. 137-139
Published by: The Burlington Magazine Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/886492
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EXHIBITION REVIEWS

of new perspectival alleys cut in the wooded exploration of dramatically new spatial Zanten. Hopefully the hanging plan, as pro-
Tiergarten (a design of 1835), were juxta- relationships and framing devices. Tiger- vocative for its interpretation of the archi-
posed with an unexecuted project for a hip- man could not resist the cheap thrill of clos- tect as for its grappling with the perennial
podrome of trees in the gardens of the ing the exhibition with an evocation of two difficulty of exhibiting architecture, will be
Charlottenhof at Sanssouci. These in turn Nazi interiors inspired by Schinkel's classi- reproduced in the exhibition's later venues.
are hung as pendants with two of Schinkel's cism: Mies van der Rohe's 1936 design for BARRY BERGDOLL
very late designs for Orianda palace in the the textile industry exhibition (from which Columbia New
University, rCork
Crimea and for an ideal princely residence Tigerman owns two torcheres which frame
for an unspecified site, stylistically quite dif- the exit), and Albert Speer's project for the 'Further - possiblyKarlsruhe
venuesin Germany and
ferent, but remarkably related in their spa- Reich's Chancellery. Schinkel's design of Berlin- are under negotiation.
tial structure and their manipulation of both the Prussian Iron Cross and the Neo-classi- 'KarlSchinkel,
1781-1841: TheDramaofArchitecture,edit-
architecture and nature as reciprocally cal rendering of the Prussian eagle stencilled ed byJohn Zukowsky.176 pp. incl. numerousb. & w.
ills. (ErnstWasmithVerlag, Berlin,and The Art Insti-
frame and subject of experience. The often at the entrance to the gallery are replaced tute of Chicago, 1994), $60 (HB);$29.95 (PB).ISBN
discussed dichotomy between Schinkel's with stencils of their Nazi renderings at the 0-86559-105-9.
actual commissions and his late 'fantasy' exit. This curiously irrelevant coda and its
designs for palaces, so troubling to art histor- hackneyed alliance of the romantic period
ians, is dissolved as easily as the threshold be- with the rise of fascism over a century later
tween the stage designs and the public career also infects the text panels. These make lit-
had been traversed several pairs earlier. tle attempt to guide the uninitiated towards
By making Schinkel's inventions in the exploring the challenging themes and juxta-
representation of architecture the very sub- positions of the show's provocative hanging; Minneapolis
ject of the exhibition, Forster has tackled rather they quickly degenerate into dis- The legacy of Marcel Duchamp
head-on the eternal paradox of architecture cussions of Schinkel's lasting influence and
in the museum. Schinkel's travel sketches, give way to self-congratulatory references to Recently asked what criteria he used in
set designs, perspective-optical pictures, the installation and even to the corporate selecting artists for his gallery, Leo Castelli
and presentations of architecture (Fig.88) sponsors, whose Schinkel-inspired office began his response with the words: 'Marcel
are seen not as so many stand-ins for his furnitureis displayed in the final gallerywhere Duchamp', going on to name a number of
architecture but as media for exploring a visitors can consult the catalogue. individuals whose work, he thought, reflect-
new conception of architectural space and Regrettably the catalogue makes no at- ed Duchamp's inventive power -JasperJohns,
spectatorship. Just how Schinkel explored tempt to record the insights of the hanging Robert Rauschenberg,Joseph Kosuth, Robert
these theatrical relationships in three- plan, although it includes a full presentation Morris, Bruce Nauman - and pointing out
dimensional architecture is scarcely and explanation of Tigerman's drawings for that Duchamp was a frequent visitor to the
broached, except in Forster's subtly argued the installation. The list of drawings exhib- Castelli Gallery in the years before his death
catalogue essay. Although photographs of ited does not reproduce the order of the in 1968.1 While few would question the sin-
Schinkel's buildings in their urban settings exhibition and there are no catalogue cerity of Castelli's remarks, it may be doubt-
are available on text panels, the curators entries to discuss the issues of representation ed whether he consciously sought out artists
have resisted any attempt to simulate and theatrically in each of the exquisitely whose work revealed Duchamp's influence,
Schinkel's architecture in models, and virtu- selected images. A collection of loosely- any more than the artists themselves system-
ally no plans of executed' buildings are related essays ranges from a penetrating atically strove to emulate the Frenchman's
included. So little traditional documenta- overview of the theme of theatrically and ideas (indeed, if Duchamp were Castelli's
tion of Schinkel's buildings is included that romantic subjectively by Forster and the only guide, his choice of artists such as
anyone not already familiar with them will presentation of illuminating new research Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly would be
surely fail to recognise the rather arch allu- on Schinkel's perspective optical pictures by hard to explain). Castelli may have come to
sions to the interiors of the Altes Museum Birgit Verwiebe, to adept reviews of the rise realise Duchamp's prime importance only
and the Schauspielhaus in Tigerman's exhi- of the theatre as a building type by Mitchell in retrospect. Since Duchamp's death, art
bition decor. Unfortunately, at least in the Schwartzer and of Schinkel's landscape de- historians and critics have increasingly
view of this reviewer, the installation, in signs in Potsdam by Christoph Martin Vog- recognised his influence, and curators -
Chicago at least, is at odds with the exhibi- therr. Unrelated to the exhibition's theme both in America and in Europe - have
tion. It does more to foster a superficial are a stimulating essay on Schinkel's critical attempted in recent years to illustrate the
reading of Schinkel's architecture as - in the fortune by Wolfgang Pehnt and a curiously point in several exhibitions.2 The first major
words of several visitors I talked to - 'very inconclusive essay on Schinkel's brief en- show of this kind, held five years ago at the
dramatic', than it does to reinforce the com- counter with the French architect and histo- Museum Ludwig in Cologne, was an ambi-
plex curatorial argument about Schinkel's rian Jean-Nicolas Huyot by David van tious undertaking involving the work of
sixty artists, designed to trace the impact of
Duchamp's work since 1950. The main
objection to it (expressed byjill Lloyd in this
II ; Magazine) was that works by Duchamp
were juxtaposed with works by contempo-
IlsS rary artists on the basis of visual - rather
than conceptual - similarities.3 Irresistible
ii_ _
as some of these comparisons may be, they
establish a series of false cognates, serving
only to becloud our reading of the contem-
porary work. This same fault recurs in parts
of the wittily titled Duchamp'sLeg, an exhibi-
tion organised by Elizabeth Armstrong for
the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis
~/!Fl~? ~ 88. Interiorperspective to 26th March.4
viewof theproposed Since the pun in the title is not explained,
Getraudenkirche,
Berlin, the visitor's bemusement may be enhanced
by Karl Friedrich
Schinkel. 1819. Pen, by finding Robert Gober's 1990 wax sculp-
ture of a clothed fragment of a human leg
ink, water-colour and
wash, 22 by 28 cm. (Fig.89) shown next to an early drawing by
(Kupferstichkabinett, Duchamp of a Peasant'sleg (Fig.90), as if to
Berlin; exh. Art imply that the one had something to do with
Institute of Chicago). the other. Of course Gober does in general

137
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EXHIBITION REVIEWS

preoccupiedwith the concept of replication


and the productionof multiples(bestexem-
plified by Fluxus), and the third features
young painters and sculptorsof the 1980s
and 90s, many of whom have consciously
drawnon Duchamp'sexample.
Visitorsare greetedin the firstsectionby
an example of Duchamp's snow shovel, In
advance ofa broken arm(1915/64) selectedand
inscribed by the artist shortly after he
arrived in New York for the first time in
1915. This is the firstAmericanreadymade
and its title matches well with that of the
exhibition.It is worth recallingthat when it
was shown at anothermuseumin Minneso-
ta just over fiftyyears ago, it was re-appro-
priated by a janitor to clear a snowdrift
outsidethe museum!6
Throughoutthe exhibitionselectedpieces
by Duchamp are provocativelyjuxtaposed
with works by other artists.In some cases
the rationalefor comparisonis obvious; in
others,the visitoris left to workout the par-
89. Untitledleg,by Robert Gober. 1990. Wax, cotton, allels,which can requiresome thought.Jim
wood, leather and human hair, 31.8 by 14.6 by 49.5 Dine's A blackshovel,number 2, 1962, a dirt-
cm. (PaulaCooper Gallery;exh. WalkerArt Center, digger's shovel mounted horizontallyonto
Minneapolis). a canvas coveredwith thick blackpigment,
is hung within easy viewing distance of
find inspiration in Duchamp (witness the Duchamp's Snozushovel,while a print of
90. Peasant'sleg,by Marcel Duchamp. 190F05.
sinksand drain also includedin this exhibi- Duchamp'sinfamous,moustachioedMona Conte crayon, 21 by 13 cm. (RobertRauschenberg
tion), but his Untitledlegis perhapscloser in Lisa, L.H.O.O.Q, hangs alongside Robert collection;exh. WalkerArt Center, Minneapolis).
concept to French and Belgian Surrealism Rauschenberg'sErasedde Kooningdrawing.
(a bettercomparisonmight be to Magritte's Both workssharethe theme of desecration-
fime transfixed). Duchamp defacing a renaissance master-
Nonetheless,Duchamfi's legis a commend- piece, Rauschenbergreducinga contempo- panel shares a rather loose formal rapport
able undertaking,put togetherby the Walk- rarydrawingto a tabularasa. with the Largeglass, which Rauschenberg
er with remarkablespeed in less than eight Rauschenbergcould on occasion apply had seen for the firsttime a few yearsearlier
months. This was possible,in part, because the same principles to his own work. In on a visit withJasperJohnsto the Philadel-
many works in the permanent collection 1960, he disassembledhis seven-panelWhite phia Museum of Art. Rauschenberg'stech-
reflect Duchampian origins. An interestin paintingof 1951 and used it as material to nique of combiningimages (and sometimes
the artist and his work began in the mid- constructa largepaintedhomage to Marcel real objects)with expressivegesturesof pig-
1960s, at which time the Walkerwas one of Duchamp and his wife Alexina (knownto ment against large sections of either white
severalAmericaninstitutionsto host a small friendsas Teeny). Trophy II bforBeeny&9Mar- paint or unprimedcanvas,resultsin a series
Duchamp retrospective;the artist'smemo- celDuchamp), in the Walker'scollectionsince of pictorial elements that appear to float
rable visit to the opening is recorded in a 1970 (Fig.91), is the second in a series of in suspension, not unlike the imagery in
series of photographsdisplayedin the cur- five paintings Rauschenberg dedicated to Duchamp'sLargeglass.As if to reinforcethis
rent exhibition.5 friends.Inscriptionson the back of the can- reading,Rauschenbergaffixeda long wood
The show is divided into three roughly vas have recently revealed that the artist strip horizontallyacross the central panel,
chronological parts: the first traces Du- had intendedthe left wing of this triptychto dividing it into two distinct sections; once
champ'sinfluenceon the so-calledneo-Dada representTeeny and the right to represent this detail is comparedto the Largeglass,it is
or Pop generation of the 1950s and early Marcel, but no one, to my knowledge,has anyone's guess which elements within the
60s, the second displaysthe work of artists noticed that in its generalformatthe central composition Rauschenberg might have
intended as uniquely male (bachelor)and
female (bride) references (only the tie is
obvious).Knowing that the flankingpanels
0':1_ F Xl r NF iVf: representDuchamp (the perennial bache-
BBw
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lor) and Teeny (his bride of six years), one
B '' z a "- :
might easilyconcludethat the composition-
:

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al similaritiesare more than mere visual
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Selectedworksby other artistsassociated
. i A+,
:d:
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.
*7 . ............
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t
with neo-Dada and Pop are includedin this
part of the exhibitionbecause of their spe-
i 00.,> i i E .
cial relevance to Duchamp: Robert Mor-
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,
E
I S
.,
__
=
-r
-7yr
ris's Litanies,twenty-seven keys hanging
__ p00000 liw ! Y1. l roWny ll yor from a lead-covered box, each stamped
with a word taken from Duchamp's notes
F 9|4T40 4 Duchamp), by Robert for the Largeglass,were accompaniedby his
equallyDuchampianStatement ofesthetic
with-
a t 2 2 0i1, charcoal,paper, drawal;prints by JasperJohns were shown
after his painting Accordingto what,which
containsnumerousreferencesto Duchamp;
0321 t | . | glass,metalchairand Claes Oldenburg's Softtoiletis a drooping
vinyl homage to Duchamp's Fountain.Per-
- -i_ __
_ _ ArtCenter, haps the most directly relevant work is
Warhol's three-minute ScreenBest:Marcel

138
EXHIBITION REVIEWS

disavowed such allegiance. For example, the poetic appropriateness of the title, could
Joseph Beuys's silkscreen sign of 1973 all be considered in some way antithetical to
(based on a performance of 1964), boldly Duchamp's method. But it is clearly not
proclaims: 'Das SchweigenvonMarcelDuchamp Levine's task to reconcile these differences;
wird iiberbewertet(The silence of Marcel indeed, it could be argued that it is an inher-
Duchamp is overrated)'. This statement has ent feature of her work - as for a number of
often been interpreted as a criticism of artists included in this last section of the
Duchamp and his work, whereas it may exhibition - simply to present them.
have been intended to rebut claims that It is here that Duchamp's historical posi-
Duchamp was inactive in these years (under- tion as progenitor of the modern appears to
mined by the valise shown in the exhibi- be confirmed. David Ireland creates a
tion). A far more acerbic statement may wedge-shaped enclosure that mimics the
have been intended in Hans Haacke's Bro- narrow slice of space Duchamp occupied in
kenR.M., a shovel with a broken handle, the a famous photograph by Irving Penn;
surface of which is gilded, implying that the Rachel Lachowisz is represented by three
mixture of art and wealth can sometimes plastic urinals coloured by a layer of deep
produce destructive consequences; this red lipstick; Millie Wilson fills an entire
reading is reinforced by the inscription on room with a collection of fetishistic objects
an accompanying enamel plaque (itself referring to different works by Duchamp;
punning on the title of another work by Yasumasa Morimura takes the pose of
Duchamp): 'ART & ARGENT a tous les Rrose Selavy and creates his own version of
etages'. Duchamp's alter ego. After viewing this
The last and largest gallery in the exhibi- exhibition, a young artist might well wonder
tion displays the work of about a dozen con- if any form of art with a conceptual basis
temporary artists, many of whom, over the could be made without acknowledging
last decade, have consciously and systemat- Duchamp's pre-eminence. The French
ically incorporated references to Duchamp artist Ben Vautier perhaps expressed these
in their work. Their approach, however, sentiments best in words he painted around
differs distinctly from that of their predeces- the rim of a water-filled bathtub (a work
sors; whereas Duchamp's art and ideas con- from 1991, also included in the Walker Art
tinue to serve as beacons of influence, now Center exhibition): 'Since Marcel Duchamp
specific references to the artist and his work all the avant-garde is soaking in the same
are used to form the basis of a personal water of the same bathtub.'
iconography. To put it another way, the FRANCISM.NAUMANN
precedence of Duchamp is openly acknowl-
edged as a given, a sort of readymade in its
own right, something that can be appropri-
ated intact or slightly manipulated in ways
Walk92. Chimer
Art Center that still reveal Duchampian origins.Just as
Jasper Johns once told an interviewer that
he would not be embarrassed by any rela- 'Interviewbetween Leo Castelli and Robert Rosen-
collection; exh.
of 1966: ikenthe style
brDuchamp of his own tionship that could be established between blum, sponsored by New York University School of
infamously
boherringtwenty-four-hour movies, his work and Duchamp,7 young artists are Continuing Education, Bobst Library, 19th October
is captured with Minneapolis).
199Duchamp minimal move- anxious, some even proud to acknowledge
1994.
his influence. 2Anothershow based on a closely related theme, but
celebrities
- Warhol has here caught the confining itself to the late 1950s and early 60s, was
essential aspects of Duchamp's character No artist better exemplifies these sensitiv-
independently conceived and organised by Susan
his penetrating inte colligence, his non;xchalant ities than Sherrie Levine, whose bronze uri- Hapgood for the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. It
infamously boring
attitude towards alltwenty-four-hour movies,
things artistic. It Centis a per- nal of 1991 is placed alongside Duchamp's opened, coincidentally,on the same day at the Walker
porcelain Fountainof 1917 (here represented Art Center exhibition: see the catalogue/book, Neo-
ment, although - as in his portraits of by an example from the edition of 1964). Dada:Redefining Art1958-62, by Susan Hapgood, with
fectly of 1966
appropriate
pointhamp in the
style ofhibition to When Duchamp authorised a handcrafted essaysby MauriceBergerandJillJohnston (American
edition of his readymades - based on blue- Federation of Arts, Universe Publishing,New York,
be reminded of Duchamp's
his penetrating intelligence, his physical pres- 1994).
nonchalant prints made from photographs of the (some-
ence on though art scene durin his portraitsand 3JILLLLOYD:'Cologne: Duchamp and his legacy', THE
times lost) originals - he certainly realised
BURLINGTON MAGAZINE, CXXX [1988], pp.485-86.
he provided to some youngartists caughtwasthas that the process of replication would change See the catalogue Ubrigens sterben immer dieanderen:Mar-
crissential
as the examcts of
Duchamp's character, their status from commonplace, manufac- celDuchamp unddieAvantgarde seit1950, exh. cat., Muse-
ence on the art scene during the 1950s and tured objects back to the realm of tradition- um Ludwig,Cologne, 1988.
attitude
next section of things is
It
artistic.devoted toper- al
1960s,
fecta
for the supportand encouragement sculpture. Such implications are seized on 4Armstrongactuallyderived her title from 'Suzanne's
display
appropriate
he provided oite en valise, the
exhibition
to some young artists was as toable
by Levine, whose Fountainis cast in a pre- Leg', the name given to a dance performanceby Twyla
critical as the which
earlier work example of his work.
Duchamp's physignedinpres- cious material and polished to a Brancusi- Tharp held at the Walker Art Center in the 1970s.
The next section of the show is devoted to like shine. There was no catalogue published for Duchamp's Leg
the early for190s, but assembledpport and sold
iencouragement but a specialissue of the magazine October
a display of the Boite en valise, the portable A more recent work by Levine in the (no. 70, Fall
museum made
museum made fromfrom reproductions
reproductions of his his exhibition raises a number of equally 1994) was devoted to the subjectof Duchamp's influ-
earlier work which Duchamp designed in ence. In additionto a numberof interestingarticles,the
provocative issues. In a second-hand furni- journal contains a series of importantinterviewswith
the early 1940s, but assembled and sold in ture store, she discovered twelve wooden leg artists by Benjamin Buchloh (Oldenburg, Warhol,
slightly variant editions throughout the splints designed in the early 1940s by Morris), Elizabeth Armstrong (Bruce Conner) and
remaining years of his life. The box is dis- Charles Eames. Admiring their moulded Martha Buskirk(SherrieLevine, Louise Lawler and
played open and its contents spread out to plywood surface and graceful line she Fred Wilson) on the relevance of Duchamp to their
fill a room constructed within a larger room, mounted them on board, encased them in work.
the latter containing the work of highly 5The exhibitionwas a tour of the Mary Sisler Collec-
plexiglass boxes, and assigned them the title
diverse artists, all in one way or another Chimera:after a brokenleg (Fig.92), which tion, which was held at the WalkerArt Center from
influenced by Duchamp. It is here that 18th October to 21st November 1965.
refers both to a collage by Max Ernst
6Asreportedby G.H.HAMILTON: 'In Advance of Whose
Fluxus's debt to the ephemeral side of Dada (depicting a girl's body encased by a leg BrokenArm?',ArtandArtists, 1, no.4 [July1966], p.29.
and the packaging talents of Duchamp is brace) and to Duchamp's snow shovel. The 7Asrecordedin the filmPainters Painting,1972 (andpub-
displayed, although a number of artists who initial aesthetic judgment, the elevation of lished in E. DEANTONIO
and M.TUCHMAN:
PaintersPaint-
participated in this movement might have the objects to a precious commodity, and ing,New York [1984], p. 102).

139

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