Tag Archive | Marcel Duchamp

Modern Art Monday: Florine Stettheimer, Portrait of Marcel Duchamp and Rrose Selavy

Portrait of Marcel Duchamp
Photo By Gail

The French Dada artist Marcel Duchamp was a member of artist Florine Stettheimer’s family’s inner circle. He is depicted here in the company of Rrose Selavy, the female alter ego that he invented in 1920. He casually carries out his game of sexual transformation by means of a contraption operated from an armchair. The clock and the chess knight are both Ducahmpian symbols: the one being a reference to the circularity of Dada time; the other an illusions to Duchamp’s prowess at chess. The frame (also by Stettheimer), composed of Duchamp’s monogram in a circle of infinite repetition, wryly comments on his program of artistic self-promotion and his obsession with identity and its ambiguities.

Portrait of Marcel Duchamp and Rrose Selavy (1923) was Photographed in the Jewish Museum in Manhattan.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Why Not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy? By Marcel Duchamp

Why Not Sneeze
All Photos By Gail

Why Not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy? is a 1921 Readymade sculpture by Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp considered this to be an “Assisted Readymade” because the original object, the Birdcage, was altered by the artist with the addition of the other objects. These consist of 152 white cubes (made of marble but resembling sugar cubes), a mercury thermometer, a piece of cuttlebone, and a tiny porcelain dish.

Why Not Sneeze

The birdcage is made of painted metal and contains several wooden perches. Rrose Sélavy, or Rose Sélavy, was one of the pseudonyms used by artist for the creation of other works, such as This One.

Why Not Sneeze

The Philadelphia Museum of Art displays the original as part of the Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection. Several replicas made by Duchamp exist (this is one, from 1964, of those) but only in the original are the cubes stamped “Made in France.”

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Why Not Sneeze

Modern Art Monday Presents: Man Ray, Obstruction

Man Ray Obstruction
All Photos By Gail

Man Ray (1890 – 1976) worked in a wide variety of media, including photography, painting, and sculpture, often blurring the boundaries between these practices. Obstruction, an assemblage of 63 wooden coat hangers, is an example of the type of artwork Dada artist Marcel Duchamp called a Ready-Made, a term that suggests Man Ray’s appropriation and manipulation of pre-existing, common objects. The sculpture playfully mimics a chandelier, but, as the hangers seemingly divide and multiply, Obstruction quickly evolves into a dense tangle of overlapping forms. Cast shadows serve as distorted, immaterial extensions of its physical presence. Man Ray first created Obstruction in 1920, but the present work belongs to an addition of 15 reproductions that he created in 1961 for an important exhibition of kinetic art.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Man Ray Obstruction

Modern Art Monday Presents: Marcel Duchamp’s To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour

To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour
Photo By Gail

Inscribed on a strip of metal glued across the approximate center of this work are the words of its title, suggesting that viewers look through the lens that Duchamp mounted between two panes of glass and haloed in concentric circles. The title of this work, which Duchamp said he “intended to sound like an oculist’s prescription,” tells the viewer exactly how to look at it. But peering through the convex lens embedded in the work’s glass “for almost an hour” would have a hallucinatory effect, the view being dwarfed, flipped, and otherwise distorted.

Meanwhile, the viewer who is patiently following the title’s instruction is put on display for anyone else walking by. Duchamp called To Be Looked At . . . his “small glass,” to distinguish it from his famous Large Glass of 1915–23. He made this work while living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he had fled earlier in 1918 to escape the oppressive atmosphere of the United States during World War I. When he shipped it back to New York, the glass cracked in transit, an effect that delighted the artist.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Rmutt Urinal Pez Dispenser

Rmutt Pez Dispenser
Photos By Gail

In the tradition of Marcel Duchamp’s Ready-Mades, this 3D printed Pez dispenser by British artist Tom Burtonwood (in the likeness of Duchamp’s Fountain sculpture) combines high and low, pop and populous, and art and kitsch.

Available in the gift shop at the New Museum of Contemporary Art for $70, discounted to $59.50 for Members!

Rmutt Pez Dispenser Detaiil
Rmutt Pez Dispenser Detail

Modern Art Monday Presents: Untitled (Night Train) By David Hammons

Night Train
Photos By Gail

This Sculpture / Installation, Untitled (Night Train) (1989) by African-American artist David Hammons had just been re-rotated into display from the permanent collection at MOMA when I visited earlier this month, and I think it’s really terrific.

David Hammons has risen to prominence while at the same time consciously ducking the attention of critics, galleries and museums, preferring to “do things in the street.” A recipient of both a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award and a Pric de Rome, Hammons places himself as an artist between Arte Povera and Marcel Duchamp. He makes his art from refuse and the detritus of African-American life: chicken wings, Thunderbird and Night Train bottles, clippings from dreadlocks, basketball hoops, etc. Hammons‘ deeply felt political views on race and cultural stereotypes give his witty and elegant sculptures, installations, and body prints an integrity that promises to keep the focus on his art rather than on his career.

David Hammons lives and works in NYC.

Night Train

By Proxy Group Exhibition at James Cohan Gallery

Play It By Trust
All Photos By Gail

James Cohan Gallery is currently hosting a diverse a group exhibition entitled By Proxy, which Geoffrey and I stumbled upon during our most recent art crawl.

Oliver Laric Yuanmingyuan Columns,
Oliver Laric, Yuanmingyuan Columns

The exhibit title, By Proxy, referes to what Marcel Duchamp called “aesthetic osmosis” — the process by which an artist transfers responsibility to a viewer, empowering them to complete the work out in the world. This idea, of art as shared enterprise, is the theme of this exhibition. Here, the word proxy encompasses the tools and techniques that complete artworks away from the artist’s hand. This exhibition is concerned with those tools and techniques, the effects they can have, and the instances when an idea calls for more than just the artist to take form.

Xu Zhen Eternity
Xu Zhen, Eternity – Aphrodite of Knidos

By Proxy includes Duchamp’s assisted readymade With Hidden Noise, a ball of string with an unknown object rattling inside it; embroidery works by Alighiero Boetti; three drawings from John Cage’s 1990 series River Rocks and Smoke, in which chance operations are performed by smoke settling in the fibers of the paper; Oliver Laric’s Yuanmingyuan Columns, a new work created with 3D scans of Chinese cultural artifacts ensconced in Bergen, Norway; Yoko Ono’s seminal chess set and war allegory Play it By Trust; and a work from Xu Zhen’s recent Eternity series, which juxtaposes the East and West by mounting headless replicas of key Hellenistic and Buddhist sculptures neck to neck.

Play It By Trust Chess Board

Play It By Trust, Chess Board Detail (above) and Sign (below), which appears on the backs of each chair.

Play It By Trust

XU ZHEN Under Heaven
Xu Zhen, Under Heaven

Pink Paint Dollops Detail
Detail from Above Painting

The exhibition incorporates work from the past century to the present day. Participating artists are Francis Alÿs, Alighiero Boetti, John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Wade Guyton, Oliver Laric, Lee Mingwei, Sol LeWitt, Yoko Ono, Jon Rafman, Mariah Robertson, Siebren Versteeg and Xu Zhen. Definitely worth checking out.

Wade Guyton Untitled, 2007
Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2007 (Left): Marcel Duchamp, With Hidden Noise (Right)

By Proxy will be on Exhibit Through January 17th, 2015 at James Cohan Gallery, Located at 533 West 26th Street, in the chelsea Gallery District. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

By Proxy Signage

Modern Art Monday Presents: Marcel Duchamp’s Rotary Demisphere (Precision Optics)

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Rotary Demisphere
Photo By Gail

Created in 1925, Marcel Duchamp’s Rotary Demisphere (Precision Optics) is a kinetic sculpture that turns itself on at random intervals. Back in Paris after World War I, Duchamp experimented with machines that produced optical effects — work he had begun in New York. When this machine is set in motion, the circles appear to pulsate toward the viewer. The copper ring around the dome’s circumference is engraved with French words chosen for the way their sounds echo one another: Rrose Selavy et moi esquivons les ecchymoses des esquimaux aux mots exquis (Rrose Selavy and I dodge the Eskimos’s bruises with exquisite words).

Rotary Demisphere is part of the Permanent Collection at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Find it in the Painting and Sculpture Galleries.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Marcel Duchamp’s Fresh Widow

Marcel Duchamp Fresh Widow
Photo By Gail

I first became acquainted with Marcel Duchamp’s very famous sculpture, Fresh Widow (1920), when I was studying art in college. Constructed by a carpenter in accordance with Duchamp’s instructions, Fresh Widow is a small version of the double doors commonly called a French window. Duchamp was fascinated by themes of sight and perception; here, the expectation of a view through windowpanes is thwarted by opaque black leather, which Duchamp insisted “be shined everyday like shoes.”

Fresh Widow is also reference to the recent abundance of widows of World War I fighters.

An inscription at the sculpture’s base reads COPYRIGHT ROSE SELAVY 1920, making it the first work to be signed by Duchamp’s female alter ego Rose Sélavy (later spelled Rrose). Duchamp derived the name from the French saying: “éros, c’est la vie,” which can be interpreted as “the sex drive is life.”

Fresh Widow is part of the permanent collection at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art.

Fresh Widow

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Nathan Sawaya’s The Art of the Brick Comes to Discovery Center Times Square

Nathan Working In Studio2
Nathan Sawaya (Photo By Erica Ann, Image Courtesy of Nathan Sawaya, All Other Photos By Gail Except Where Noted)

In the span of three short years, Lawyer-turned-LEGO® Brick artist Nathan Sawaya has gone from having New York’s first solo exhibition comprised entirely of LEGO bricks to unveiling the world’s biggest and most elaborate display of LEGO art, ever. If you need assistance like Nathan, make sure to call these family lawyers. You can also visit Slip And Fall Lawyers Philadelphia for more inforamtion. You can see Sawaya’s massive and mind blowing exhibit, The Art of The Brick, now through January 5th, 2014 at the Discovery Center Museum in Times Square.

Art of the Brick Exhibit Signage

I was lucky to be invited to a cocktail party and preview of the exhibit last week, a couple of days before the show officially opened on June 14th, and it was so nice to have a good amount to time to stroll through this nine gallery exhibit, taking tons of photos and not having to contend with too much of a crowd. What a treat! Here’s little preview of what you’ll see in this exhibit of over 100 LEGO Brick sculptures.

Munch's The Scream
Edvard Munch’s The Scream

The First gallery you’ll enter is called Paint By Bricks, where you’ll see both flat and 3D interpretations of famous artworks such as The Mona Lisa, American Gothic and The Scream. These LEGO ‘Paintings’ represent an entirely new frontier for Sawaya’s work and they are very cool and painstakingly detailed.

Detail from Sistine Chapel Ceiling
Detail from Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring
Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring

Venus De Milo

Next, you will move into The Sculpture Garden, where you’ll encounter dozens of unbelievably authentic looking versions famous sculptures including The Venus De Milo and one of the Easter Island head sculptures as well as an extensive variety of African and Indian artifacts, The Sphinx and The Greek Parthenon. There’s also a fun  example of a very famous modern art sculpture seen a few photos below.

Michelangelos David

Easter Island Head
This one is massive!

Marcel Duchamp Fountain
Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain

Sitting Buddha
Sitting Buddha, India

It’s interesting how these LEGO artworks create a type of optical illusion, where, if you look at them and squint a bit, they look remarkably like the originals! Just try it for yourself!

Artists Studio Easle

Up next is The Artist’s Studio.

LEGO Peace Sign by Nathan Sawaya
LEGO Peace Sign

Swimmer in LEGO
Swimmer

In the Metamorphosis gallery, I noticed several sculptures that I had seen previously at Sawaya’s exhibits at the Agora Gallery in Chelsea. They were nevertheless transformed by being placed in this alternate setting, as is the case with Swimmer, above.

Nathan Sawaya Self Portrait
Self Portrait (Photo By Erica Ann, Image Courtesy of Nathan Sawaya)

Nathan Sawaya Yellow
Yellow (Photo By Erica Ann, Image Courtesy of Nathan Sawaya)

The piece above, showing a man ripping open his torso to reveal LEGO Brick organs, is perhaps Sawaya’s best known and most iconic sculpture.

Sawaya Human Condition

The Human Condition is a fun gallery. I had seen a few of these pieces in previous exhibits as well.

Crowd Eye

You can only see that this “crowd” of tiny figures incorporates the image of human eye if you squat down to view it at eye level. Clever!

Nathan Sawaya Human Condition

Lego Skulls

The mood, literally, turns a bit darker and more existential in a gallery called Through the Darkness.

LEGO Acrobat

It wasn’t easy to get good shots in this room due the darkness and the fact that a flash ruins the effect of the dim lighting on the sculptures. Small kids might be a little scared in this room if they afraid of the dark, so be sure to hold their hands.

LEGO Dinosaur

Long, Long Ago has just one sculpture, a room-length Dinosaur skeleton! Kids will love it!

LEGO Brick Liberty

City of Dreams pays homage to Nathan’s adopted hometown of New York City. Everyone seemed to want to pose for photos in this exhibit’s penultimate gallery.

I Art New York

LEGO Santa Face

In the final gallery of the exhibit, It Starts with One Brick, you’ll see contributed works from kids and local artists as well as a few additional LEGO portraits by Nathan.

LEGO Swans

LEGO Swans

LEGO Portrait of Andy Warhol

LEGO Portrait of Andy Warhol

LEGO Hand

Finally, a giant LEGO hand holds individual Yellow LEGO Brick which visitors can write their names on in order to be an official participant the exhibit!

Gail Worley LEGO Brick

Nathan Sawaya’s The Art of the Brick runs until January 5th of next year, so you have six entire months to see it, but tickets are selling out so don’t wait too long to schedule your visit! It is a fun time for the entire family and despite the size of the exhibit you can walk it leisurely in an hour.

Ticket prices are: $20.50 for Adults, $17.50 for Seniors 65+ and $15.50 for Children (4-12 yrs). Visit Discovery TSX Dot Com to purchase timed entry tickets and for more information. Discovery Times Square is located at 226 W 44th Street (Between 7th and 8th Avenues), New York, NY 10036. Exhibit Hours Are:
Sunday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM. Final Entry to the Exhibit is 1 Hour Prior To Closing.