Essay on Duchamp, The Crossover Figure Of The Triad

970 Words Dec 13th, 2016 4 Pages
This week considers a third artist often grouped with Picasso and Matisse—the polymath Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp is the crossover figure of the triad. Paris’ early 20th-century art salons, for example, already found it difficult to classifying his Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2. He was too Cubist for the Futurist and too Futurist for the Cubist. Duchamp, however, moved far beyond these modes of expression which add to the confusion many still feel when viewing art post-dada. From Duchamp onwards, the interested but uninitiated person remains baffled by art. Picasso and Matisse still drew legible objects considered “beautiful” compared to Duchamp esoteric abstractions which went way beyond representation.
Nothing is simple with Duchamp. However, it is safe to say the break between him and the previous two artists came with Readymades. Readymades are everyday objects which attracted or repulsed Duchamp, which he took as art. Readymades are at the same time sober and playful. As a movement, it critiques romantic notions of art. Duchamp made sure most pieces had esoteric wittiness to them. The ironic moves and countermoves know no base. Duchamp even claimed when he arrived in New York he did nothing new. He "found" the Readymade movement was already there. He just curated in its name. Here are the essential elements of viewing a Readymade. Understand the in-joke(s), then the critique(s), and recognise everyday objects as art.
Another difference between Picasso, Matisse, and…

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