October 20, 2012

Dust settling

Dust Breeding, 1920, Man Ray

Man Ray's 2 hour long exposure of Duchamp's masterpiece The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-1923), covered in a years worth of dust.

I am at present reading Man Ray's autobiography, appropriately titled Self Portrait, published in 1963. My favourite passage so far concerns his first meeting with Duchamp, around 1915.

"Visitors continued to descend upon us, one Sunday afternoon two men arrived - a young Frenchman, and an American somewhat older. The one was Marcel Duchamp, the painter whose Nude Descending the Staircase had created such a furor at the Armory show in 1913, the second a collector of modern art, Walter Arensberg. Duchamp spoke no English, my French was nonexistent. Donna acted as my interpreter but mostly carried on a rapid dialogue with him. I brought out a couple of old tennis racquets, and a ball which we batted back and forth without any net, in front of the house. Having played the game on regular courts previously, I called the strokes to make conversation: fifteen, thirty, forty, love, to which he replied each time with the same word: yes."

The Large Glass is most likely the one work of art I ardently desire to see in the flesh in my lifetime. 

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