"Fresh Widow," or the Postwar Paradox
By Scott Martin
posted: 12-15-09
"Fresh Widow," 1920
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While often dismissed as simply an exercise in metaphysical punnery, the perpetually blackened eyes of Fresh Widow become somber when considered as both a memorial of and a barrier against the chaos of World War I, which left 1.4 million French citizens dead and hundreds of thousands of widows in its wake. In this context, Duchamp's instructions that the blind leather panes be polished every morning (to keep the widow "fresh") become both poignant and perverse: the memory so lovingly maintained may not fade, but the prospect of remarriage becomes remote.

Blogger Tom Saint Martin recontextualizes the Fresh Widow as a work that poses questions that have yet to find answered. (Link is in French.)


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