This groundbreaking and richly illustrated book tells a new story of the twentieth century’s most influential artist, recounted not so much through his artwork as through his “non-art” work. Marcel Duchamp is largely understood in critical and popular discourse in terms of the objects he produced, whether readymade or meticulously fabricated. Elena Filipovic asks us instead to understand Duchamp’s art through activities not normally seen as artistic—from exhibition making and art dealing to administrating and publicizing. These were no occasional pursuits; Filipovic argues that for Duchamp, these fugitive tasks were a veritable lifework.
Drawing on many rarely seen images, Filipovic traces a variety of practices and projects undertaken by Duchamp from 1913 to 1969, from his invention of the readymade to the release of his last, posthumous work. She examines Duchamp’s note writing, archiving, and quasi-photographic activities, which resulted in the Box of 1914 and the Green Box; his art dealing, marketing, and curating that culminated in experimental exhibitions for the Surrealists and his miniature museum, The Boîte-en-valise; and his administrative efforts and clandestine maneuvering in order to posthumously embed his Étant donnés into a museum. Demonstrating how those activities reflect the artist’s questioning of reproduction and originality, as well as photography and the exhibition, Filipovic proposes that Duchamp’s “non-art” labor, and in particular his curatorial strategies, more than merely accompanied his more famous artworks; in a certain sense, they made them.
Through Duchamp’s elusive but vital activities he revised the idea of what a modern artist could be. With this fascinating book, Filipovic in turn revises the very idea of Duchamp.
About the Author
Elena Filipovic, an art historian, is Director and Chief Curator of the Kunsthalle Basel. Among her curatorial projects is the traveling retrospective “Marcel Duchamp: A Work That Is Not a Work ‘of Art’” (2008-2009).
“In the 1970s Lucy Lippard remarked that Duchamp was already too much written about. How, then, is one to contribute effectively to the Duchamp literature today, given that it has become all the more voluminous since? In The Apparently Marginal Activities of Marcel Duchamp Elena Filipovic finds a way, and does so with great intelligence. She claims, rightly, that the dominant readings of Duchamp have led to an occlusion of the ‘fugitive actions’ undertaken by Duchamp vis-à-vis the institution of art, and it is there that she locates her incisive study—specifically on ‘his role as administrator, archivist, art advisor, curator, publicist, reproduction maker, and salesman.’ Rather than see these activities as ancillary to his life as an artist, Filipovic locates them, brilliantly, at its center; they are indeed only ‘apparently marginal.’ This is just the book to reanimate discourse around Duchamp.”
—Hal Foster, Townsend Martin Class of 1917 Professor, Princeton University, author of Compulsive Beauty and Prosthetic Gods
“When an artist becomes a curator today, the exhibition is often treated like an extension of the artist’s medium. A century ago when Duchamp, having ceased to consider himself a professional artist, undertook to help out his friends by designing their exhibitions, did he think like a modernist fixated on medium specificity? This is the classic question that lies behind Elena Filipovic’s careful research in the archives. In light of her new syntheses, she rewrites the question to read: just how did Duchamp open up new possibilities for curators? The answer: the medium was not his message. Duchamp worked without professing, in a series of small, nonretinal steps; he avoided creating a single, prototypical model. He left behind a panorama of new ideas. Filipovic has collected them into a book that curators will come to regard as a resource.”
—Molly Nesbit, Professor of Art History, Vassar College, author of Their Common Sense
“In 1959, Marcel Duchamp referred to himself as ‘a non-artist.’ Exactly what he meant by this has never been fully explained until now, a lacuna in the vast literature on this artist that finally has been filled by Elena Filipovic’s marvelous new book, the first to deal with the various activities that preoccupied Duchamp when he wasn’t making art, particularly in the realm of curating (not only his own work, but that of his fellow artists in various exhibitions that he oversaw). Filipovic argues that these activities occur with such frequency and consistency in Duchamp’s life that they must be considered an integral component of his creative endeavors. The result is an entirely new way to look at the work of this important and highly influential artist.”
—Francis M. Naumann, author of The Recurrent, Haunting Ghost
“Yes, another Duchamp book. The one we least expected, but perhaps the one that we now need the most. Elena Filipovic’s brilliant book locates a ‘curatorial’ logic at the heart of Duchamp’s (deeply fascinating, often confusing, and impossibly disparate) activities. But more crucial even than its tracing of a long-ignored curatorial modernism, this book will in turn challenge what it might mean to curate today, at precisely the moment curators increasingly claim an artistic dimension for their own work.”
—George Baker, Professor of Art History, UCLA, author of The Artwork Caught by the Tail
- The Apparently Marginal Activities of Marcel Duchamp
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Catalogue Raisonné (L`Oeuvre de Marcel Duchamp, Tome II)
Published by Georges Pompidou Musee National d’Art Moderne in Paris in 1977, this fantastic book, “L’Oeuvre de Marcel Duchamp, Tome II”, presents Marcel Duchamp’s catalogue raisonne; 212 pages chronologically documenting his rich history of works in detail, heavily illustrated throughout in colour and black and white, with French texts and a full bibliography. It also goes beyond that, looking to aspects of his work including Photography, Esotericism, Perspective… The second of a four-part book set detailing the life and work of French-American artist Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), published on the occasion of a 1977 exhibition. This particular volume (Tome II) is the Duchamp catalogue raisonne, and became a very valuable resource book on the artist in the late 1970s.
First edition of this scarce French book.
* Condition: Good (light tanning/discolouration to dust-jacket, light tanning to page edges, otherwise clean and tight throughout) – All care is taken to provide accurate condition details of used books, photos available on request.
- Marcel Duchamp - Catalogue Raisonné (L`Oeuvre de Marcel Duchamp, Tome II)
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Styles of Living
The Best of Casa Vogue
Making appearances in these rooms: Gae Aulenti, Man Ray, Enzo Mari, Carlo Scarpa, Pablo Picasso, Josef Hoffman, Cinzia Ruggeri, Max Ernst, Wols, Matteo Thun, Ettore Sottsass, Le Corbusier, Salvador Dali, René Magritte, Lucio Fontana, Eileen Grey, Daniel Buren, Gaetano Pesce, Charles Eames, Verner Panton, Massimo Vignelli, Andy Warhol, Frank Lloyd Wright, Antonio Tapiés, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alver Aalto…..
“Ever since the end of the Second World War, Italian style, design and decoration have maintained an unprecedented predominance in the Western World. It was in the early 1950s that a great surge of decorative talent welled up in Italy, and this resulted in the ‘Italian look’ in clothes and in homes – a new standard of chic inventiveness.
The Italian view of interior design has been most enterprisingly expressed in the magazine Casa Vogue, which was founded in 1968 and has consistently been one of the most admired publications of Condé Nast International.
This book, garnered from the many issues of Casa Vogue, has been written and produced under the guidance of Isa Vercellonim who has been its editor ever since its inception. The choice of picture-stories is intended to reflect the unusual and distinctive diversity of the magazine – ranging from traditional decoration to the more advance examples of minimal design, most the most significant of contemporary buildings to the spectacular reconstructions and reconversions of old palazzi and coachhouses, from the ‘post modern’ to the ‘anti-modern’ and any other ‘moderns’ that may have been advocated recently. Italian trends naturally provide the main focus, but Casa Vogue also includes developments in the United States, France, Switzerland – indeed, wherever unusual and meaningful designs are being created.”
* Condition: Good-Very Good (light wear/tanning to original dust-jacket and binding, otherwise clean and tight throughout, protected in mylar wrap) – All care is taken to provide accurate condition details of used books, photos available on request.
- Styles of Living
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Modern Architecture and Design
A revealing look at the visionary French furniture designer and architect, highlighting his virtuoso designs and versatile creativity The designer and architect Pierre Chareau (1883-1950) was a pivotal figure in modernism. His extraordinary Art Deco furniture is avidly collected and his visionary glass house, the Maison de Verre, is celebrated, but the breadth of his design genius has been little explored. Chareau linked architecture, fine arts, and style; designed furniture for avant-garde films and chic homes; collected artists such as Picasso and Mondrian; and was a radical innovator in the use of materials. Essays by leading scholars embrace the full scope of his invention, offering detailed analyses of individual projects, the interdisciplinary nature of his work, his Jewish background, his place in the avant-garde of Paris between the wars, and his more recent reception. Extensive illustrations present a rich sampling of Chareau’s furniture, architecture, interiors, fabrics, and wallpapers, as well as his own important art collection.
- Pierre Chareau - Modern Architecture and Design
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