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Marcel Duchamp - Essay Example

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This paper explores Marcel Duchamp. He was born in Blainville France in 1887 and died in Neuilly-sur-seine in 1968. Marcel Duchamp grew up in a pretty cultivated home, and this can be inferred by the fact that in 1925 he was ranked sixth across the entire country…
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Download file to see previous pages The paper "Marcel Duchamp" focuses on the important figure in the art, Marcel Duchamp. Particular to that was the avant-garde movement known as the Dadaists and the Surrealists: "the mission of the early 20th Century avant-garde thus consisted in undermining the idea of art's 'autonomy' in favour of a new merging of art into what he calls the 'praxis of life'." The work being examined in the following, falls within the genre of this movement, and thus, one of the running themes explored throughout this discussion, will address how L.H.O.O.Q. can be understood as an expression of the avant-garde of his age, and how this fits within the agenda of the Dadaists. In introductory terms, Dadaism is a movement that sought to deconstruct the relationship of art to the power structures that financed it, so to speak. By challenging the power relations surrounding the work of art, the further agenda of exposing the essentially "bourgeoisie" values are likewise a theme that is incorporated into the actual pieces or works of art themselves. In 1915, Marcel Duchamp moved to New York City from Paris. In Duchamp's own words, he was not moving to New York so much as he was fleeing the art community in Paris which he believed was burdened by the history and traditions of European art. As he states: “If only America would realize that the art of Europe is finished – dead – and that America is the country of the art of the future. Look at the skyscrapers! Has Europe anything to show more beautiful than these? New York is a work of art, a complete work of art . . . And I believe that the idea of demolishing old buildings, old souvenirs, is fine . . . The dead should not be permitted to be so much stronger than the living. We must learn to forget the past, to live our own lives in our own time.” [Kalaidjian, Ed., 2005, 195]. In terms of the back drop of rejecting history or the tradition of art, the work in question eventually came to be known as a 'ready-made'. That is, a found object which has been altered or modified in a way, and then presented as a work of art. The work in question [APPENDIX A] is a reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, which is arguably, the most famous work that is housed in the Louvre in Paris. As far as the modifications go with this particular work, Duchamp has merely added a mustache and titled the work with the initials L.H.O.O.Q.. This title is supposed to be a pun or a play on the French: “Elle a chaud au cul" and as translated into English, the phrase means "She has a hot ass" [Seigel, 1995, 119] . There is an interesting controversy about the work, that it is germane to the very meaning of the work itself. One of the important aspects of a work like this, is the very capacity for it to be photographed and reproduced. Indeed, the technique involved with the work in the first sense involves photography insofar as the image itself is initially a photograph of the Mona Lisa: "photography was crucial in disseminating Duchamp" [Hopkins, 2004, p. 46]. The contemporary twist on the controversy occurred in 2006 when the art critic and editor of Art in America, had to issue an apology for misunderstanding the authenticity and provenance of a reproduction of Duchamp's famous work: “I was wrong in 'Dada Lives' to claim that Francis Picabia's bungled 1920 reproduction ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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