Christian Boltanski and the Persistence of Duchamp

posted: 05-25-10
Christian Boltanski, "No Man's Land"
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Recent critical reception of conceptual artist Christian Boltanski's work (such as No Man's Land, in which menswear is sifted endlessly) has struggled to invoke the legacy of Marcel Duchamp as patron of the "big questions" about the function of art, or at very least the instigator of the little gestures of art-as-provocation.

Boltanski himself appears more conflicted in his relationship to the readymade master, having deliberately erased the portions of his collected press interviews that deal with Duchamp among other subjects. As he notes, "I think I said that I don't like Duchamp, but that is totally stupid because I know that Duchamp is a very important man." Once these conversational witticisms are frozen in print, they become pernicious....


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