ASRL / PERPETUAL 2014
 
Duchamp: Artist as Celebrity
By Cayla Lewis
posted: 04-17-09
Marcel Duchamp Wanted: $2000 Reward 1922
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In a review of the show "Inventing Marcel Duchamp:The Dynamics of Portraiture" at the National Portrait Galley, Blake Gopnik argues that " for Duchamp, portraiture was all about demolishing our stale ideas about an artist - or a person - as a single, stable thing."  Rather than use his self-portraits to present himself as he actually was and define his identity, Duchamp used them to invent several alternate identities, including R.Mutt and Rrose Selevay.  Portraits made of him by others also contribute to this, and through out the show Duchamp's identity is constantly changing so that he "can be male one minute, female the next. He can be a European man of letters or an outlaw from the Wild West. He can be a fleshy prizefighter or a champagne glass full of inanimate scraps."  Although Duchamp's fame, especially in the United States, was tied to his celebrity, he did not present a single, unified image to the public.  Instead, his self-portraits and other artists' portraits of him presented him from many different angles, and his identity was transforming.  Duchamp revolutionized portraiture by challenging the nature of identity and the way identity was shaped through art. 

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