A New York Times Notable Book of 1996
Booklist Editor's Choice, 1996
The celebrated, full-scale life of the century's most influential artist. One of the giants of the twentieth century, Marcel Duchamp changed the course of modern art. Visual arts, music, dance, performance--nothing was ever the same again because he had shifted art's focus from the retinal to the mental. Duchamp sidestepped the banal and sentimental to find the relationship between symbol and object and to unearth the concepts underlying art itself. The author's intimacy with the subject and glorious prose style, wit, and deep sense of irony--"the only antidote to despair"--make him the perfect writer to bring this stunning life story to intelligent readers everywhere.
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Marcel Duchamp, born into an artistic middle-class French family in 1887, first gained recognition as an artist in 1913 when he submitted his painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 to the Armory Show in New York. The newspapers latched onto it after discovering that there was no trace of a nude, or even a real figure, in the painting, which came to symbolize the movement of modern art toward absurdity, humor, and avant-garde disregard for expectations. As an artist, Duchamp never matched the success and recognition of his most well-known work; later in his career, his works of "art" consisted of signed ceramic urinals. Calvin Tomkins, a writer for The New Yorker who befriended Duchamp in New York in the 1960s, has written the first full-length biography of the enigmatic Dadaist.About the Author:
Described by Jay Jacobs in Arts Magazine as "one of the best writers on any subject," Calvin Tomkins has been a New Yorker writer for thirty-five years and author of ten books including the bestselling Living Well is the Best Revenge. He lives in New York City.
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