Dennis Hopper, Duchampian

posted: 07-13-10
Dennis Hopper, Coca-Cola Sign (1963)
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A major retrospective of the artistic career of late actor Dennis Hopper is receiving uneven reviews. After genuflecting to Hopper's apparent influences and enthusiasms -- a bit of Warhol here, an encounter with Duchamp there, Basquiat, Rauschenberg -- critics are almost invariably forced to reflect on the nature of Hopper as primarily a performer, a non-artist in the visual sense, an amateur. Some mourn the artist that could have evolved out of this slurry of modern and contemporary techniques, media, concerns.

So far, none have dared make an explicit comparison between Hopper's Hollywood non-artistic career and Duchamp's career as patron saint of non-artists. Is this a field reserved for professionals?

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