Hide/Seek, Rrose Selavy?

posted: 11-05-10
Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp as Rrose Selavy
Image Source

A new exhibition at Washington's National Portrait Gallery, "Hide/Seek," surveys homoerotic art and, by extension, the signs of transgressive sexuality hidden in apparently heteronormative portraiture. As such, the inclusion of a transvestite portrait of Marcel Duchamp by lifelong friend Man Ray reopens provocative questions about the artist's female persona. Who was "Rrose Selavy," really? Did she satisfy Duchamp's insatiable desire to subvert all assumptions about identity, authorship, gender? Or was something else -- tragic, comic, romantic -- going on here?

While the show may not answer these particular questions, Duchamp is rarely viewed in this context. (Through February 13; closes before Valentine's.)

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