Case Open and/or Unsolved:|
Étant donnés, the Black Dahlia Murder, and Marcel Duchamp’s Life of Crime
|by Wallis, Jonathan|
|As the author of this article, I wish to make it clear that this version is not the official version that was published by the Rutgers Art Review, vol. 20 (2003: 7-24). That version contains a paragraph that is missing in this online version. Numerous attempts on my part to have tout-fait correct this matter have failed, so I include it here as an addendum to the text. In the RAR published version it appears on pages 10-11, between the paragraph ending in "crime magazines" and the paragraph beginning with "On his way back." It is especially important because it is a passage involving some research on the Dahlia case that appeared when the article was at press. After desperately pleading with the editors at RAR they allowed me to add a short paragraph to the essay. Many readers have accessed this essay via tout-fait, and have expressed surprise at my lack of knowledge of the work of Steve Hodel, when in fact I was aware and did include as much as I could about his theory in the essay (especially since it strengthened my views). It is included below: Compelling evidence has recently surfaced that strengthens the connection of Man Ray to the Black Dahlia murder, as well as his possible exposure to the particulars of the crime. In a new book, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story, former LAPD detective Steve Hodel claims that his own father, George Hodel, was the Black Dahlia killer.1 Recently, a former LAPD detective named Steven Hodel submitted a manuscript to the District Attorney that suggests his own father, George Hodel, was the killer (Hodel’s conclusions are still unverified, officially, by the District Attorney). Through photographic evidence, witness corroboration, and handwriting analysis, Hodel convincingly argues that his father, a doctor with surgical skills, was intimately involved with Elizabeth Short and murdered her in an act of vengeful retribution. What is important in the context of this discussion is Steve Hodel’s information concerning Man Ray and his father, who socialized together regularly at the Hodel residence and at other venues in Hollywood during the years surrounding the crime.2 Not only did the two men share an interest in surrealism and the writings of the Marquis de Sade; they were both photographers, and on at least one occasion actually collaborated (with George Hodel as the model and Man Ray the photographer).3 As Steve Hodel suggests, the artistic and philosophical similarities between Ray and his father illustrates their “shared vision of violent sexual fantasy.”4 How close were these two individuals? While we cannot be certain about their level of intimacy, it remains suspicious (in my mind) that Man Ray left Hollywood shortly after the murder, possibly fearing an association with Hodel. Interestingly, one of Steve Hodel’s theories is that his father posed the body of the Black Dahlia to reflect the position of the figure in Man Ray’s The Minotaur from 1936, and extended the victim’s lips by tearing her cheeks, echoing the artist’s 1933-34 work, The Lovers.5 Thus, the author suggests that the murderer produced an “homage” to his mentor that was actual rather than artistic. 1. Steve Hodel, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2003). 2. Steve Hodel, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2003), 3. Steve Hodel, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2003), 87-89, 242. 4. Steve Hodel, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2003), 242. 5. Steve Hodel, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2003), 88.|
|By Jonathan Wallis | 09/14/09|
See I have placed
before you an open door that no one can shut.
In The Trial of Gilles de Rais, Georges Bataille writes, “Crime is a fact of the human species, a fact of that species alone, but it is above all the secret aspect, impenetrable and hidden. Crime hides, and by far the most terrifying things are those that elude us."(1)
Marcel Duchamp, in both his work and practice, is the elusive artist par excellence. He is the ultimate fugitive of art historical investigation, leaving a trail of tricks, twists, contradictory meanings, and duplicitous identities that lead to epistemological dead-ends. Upon close inspection, Duchamp’s tactics to elude definitive conclusions and vex the viewer reveal themselves as criminal, not unlike those of the con man, fugitive, and even the killer.
Duchamp “broke” many artistic rules after his shift toward self-determination. The readymades, such as In Advance of the Broken Arm from 1915 (Fig. 4), are now classic examples of his defiance of the imposed aesthetics of bourgeois society.(6) They not only break the “laws” of art, but also illustrate a form of elusion through their absence of traditional notions of artistic production. As Walter Hopps points out, Duchamp’s career is marked by efforts to suppress the artist’s hand, to remove or disassociate himself from the object through an absence of visual signs that suggest the physical mark of the artist.(7) Duchamp, defying the tradition of physical craft, creates a work that bears only conceptual evidence of its production, having been designated a work of art.(8) The hand and its mark is dangerous to Duchamp. “It’s fun to do things by hand,” he stated, but “I’m suspicious because there’s the danger of the ‘hand’ which comes back…”(9) Direct appropriation of these objects hides the handprint of the artist, as in the lack of fingerprints at a crime scene (is not appropriation, unlike imitation, a kind of stealing?).(10) It is here that Duchamp’s elusion seems to elicit a specifically criminal tone. Moreover, any investigative attempt to trace the sources of these works through the available evidence leads us to hardware stores or factories, not the studio, where any number of these objects were purchased or produced.(11) Ironically, in a recent attempt to do just this, Rhonda Shearer found that the origins of the readymades are often untraceable to any context due to slight alterations by Duchamp, no doubt meant to further complicate attempts to “solve” these works and hinder their investigation.
did Duchamp defy conventional aesthetic authority more than in the submission
of his famous Fountain (Fig. 5) to the first annual exhibition
of the American Society of Artists in 1917.(12)
An object so defiant of the “laws” of art, made by simply re-naming and
shifting the base of a common urinal, Fountain led a supposedly
unjuried exhibition to censorship through its blasphemous suggestions.
In addition, Duchamp mocked the committee by signing the work with the
alias “R. Mutt” rather than his own name. In this clever tactic, the artist
hid his association with the scandalous submission and thus insured his
innocence. As a member of the exhibition committee, Duchamp debated the
fate of “Mr. Mutt’s” entry much like a criminal who watches their crime
scene from a physical distance or under disguise. This, no doubt, amused
Duchamp, who continued to emphasize this play on criminal behavior in
works such as L.H.O.O.Q., (Fig. 6) defacing the Mona Lisa
with a graffiti-style moustache and goatee. Graffiti, itself an illegal
form of art, involves the elusive presence/absence of an artistic “criminal”
for its production and reception. In other capers, such as his fraudulent
checks such as Tzanck Check (Fig. 7) from 1919, Duchamp
focused on the act of counterfeiting. And in Wanted (Fig. 8),
from 1923, the artist fashioned a literal image of himself as a fugitive
with multiple aliases (again emphasizing absence), complete with profile
photographs like those of an ex-convict with a prior record.(13)
Étant donnés has baffled scholars since its discovery after the artist’s death in 1968, when following Duchamp’s instructions, it was reinstalled in the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Anne d’Harnoncourt and Paul Matisse in 1969. With the exception of a select group of individuals that included the artist’s wife Alexina Matisse and her son Paul, the work was created by Duchamp in secrecy in New York City, first in his studio at 210 West 14th Street and later moved to another small room on 80 East Eleventh Street around 1965.(14) The majority of scholarship that discusses the body in Étant donnés focuses on readings that emphasize violation, murder, rape, or other acts that associate criminal violence, eroticism, and the body.(15) It has been described as a “mutilated woman” and a “seemingly dead female body,” suggesting that some form of criminal activity either already transpired or is about to occur.(16) The erotic nature of these violent interpretations is based largely on the positioning of the body and Duchamp’s choice to explicitly display the female groin region, which is overtly shown to the viewer who peers through the small eyeholes in the door that houses the installation. The body, in its placement before us with legs spread apart, shocks the viewer because of what numerous scholars refer to as its “hypervisibility.”(17)####PAGES####
The parallels between the Black Dahlia and Étant donnés are numerous. By far the most striking similarity involves the two bodies. In a photograph of Elizabeth Short’s body at the crime scene, she lies in thick, tall grass not unlike the twigs that surround the body in Étant donnés; her legs spread wide displaying her sex (Fig. 12). And, in the most grisly detail of this heinous crime, her body is no longer whole; it has been severed at the waist. In a surrealist fantasy become reality, the Black Dahlia represents a real-life example of what was envisioned in the contemporaneous paintings, photographs, and installations of artists such as Hans Bellmer, Rene Magritte, Man Ray, and even Marcel Duchamp. Often times, for example, these surrealist artists would manipulate mannequins in their works for both their uncanny mixture of life-like and lifeless qualities, as well as their constructive and deconstructive potential through detachable anatomical parts. As the photograph illustrates, Short’s mid-section was not only severed in a manner similar to these detachable dummies, but, coincidentally, her body was actually mistaken for a mannequin by a passer-by who, observing the severed torso and skin that was “white as a lily,” believed it came from a department store.(19)
The two most forceful formal similarities between the Black Dahlia and the body in Étant donnés are located in the groin region of each figure. First, both Elizabeth Short’s body and the body in Étant donnés have no pubic hair. The lack of hair in Étant donnés has been discussed in relation to Duchamp’s interest in gender indeterminacy, as well as a tale of the Baroness Else von Freytag-Loringhoven, who had her pubic area shaved by a barber in a film that both Duchamp and Man Ray collaborated on.(22) Furthermore, in the memoirs of Lydie Sarazin-Levassor, Duchamp’s wife for eight months in 1927-28, she claims that Duchamp requested she remove her body hair, owing to his “almost morbid horror of hair.”(23) In light of these past incidents, the absence of pubic hair from Short’s body, in itself, could have proved alluring to Duchamp.
But Short’s body also offers an explanation for the strange, incorrect anatomy that suggests a female vagina in Étant donnés. Amelia Jones has negated the conclusions of earlier scholars who discussed the genitalia of Duchamp’s figure in terms of the anatomy of the female sex, proving that there is in fact no labia majora or labia minora. What exists instead is what she calls an “aggressively visible and grotesque gash that goes nowhere.”(24) In the photograph of the Black Dahlia murder one can see a literal gash that was incised above the vagina into the lower abdomen of the body of Elizabeth Short (Fig. 14). It is now known through the disclosure of the autopsy reports that Elizabeth Short’s pubic area was underdeveloped. Detectives and crime experts suspect that the gash was a means for the sexually ravenous killer to insert himself into Short, whose genitals were underdeveloped and therefore unable to engage in vaginal intercourse.(25)
Thus, the Dahlia could not offer her bachelors a natural way to fulfil their lustful desires, much like the failure of the love operation in Duchamp’s narrative of the Large Glass where the “bachelors grind their chocolate.”(26) The “gash” in Étant donnés first appeared in a vellum study for the figure in 1948-49 (Fig. 15), and the transition from a drawing dated controversially either 1945 or 1947 (Fig. 16), which features a female body without head and arms (severed?) with natural pubic hair, to the hairless body with a single “gash” in the vellum study has never been explained.(27) If Duchamp was exposed to the Dahlia murder, either in 1947 or 1949 (this will be discussed in more detail shortly), then perhaps this event was the impetus for these design alterations. Chronologically, the murder (and his exposure to it) fits neatly between the otherwise inexplicable transition from the drawing to the vellum study.
The story of Elizabeth Short presented in the newspapers during the investigation also parallels aspects of Duchamp’s own erotic narrative. Short’s failure to fulfil the “love operation,” while not directly stated through a medical explanation, was implied through accounts in the papers that spoke of her teasing nature and relationships that ended “before the love was consummated,” echoing Duchamp’s non-consummation and frustration in the theme of the Large Glass.(28) Moreover, the newspapers on both coasts played-up a controversial aspect of her past, in which she claimed to have married an air force pilot who in fact died before the ceremony could take place.(29) Thus, Elizabeth Short appeared to be paradoxically married and unmarried. The newspapers furthered the confusion when they obtained information from her address book, which contained “an album of pictures ranging in rank from sergeant to lieutenant general.”(30)
Several newspapers ran stories that published a long list of “Bachelors,” as in the New York Daily News headline from January 18th 1947 that reads, “Many Loves in Slain Girl’s Life” (Fig. 17).(31) As Jean-Francois Lyotard and others point out, Duchamp complicates attempts to locate fixed meanings in his works through what has been called a “hinge” effect.(32) The hinge, represented in language by the juxtaposition of “and/or,” as in the double alias of Marcel Duchamp and/or Rrose Sélavy, is both single and multiple, definitive and simultaneously inconclusive. To extend the “hinge” interpretation, the Dahlia was a Duchampian fantasy come to life―single and/or married, Elizabeth Short and/or the Black Dahlia, whole and/or severed, life and/or art. Like the Bride in Duchamp’s tale, who has “no singular, definitive groom,” the Dahlia represents eroticism and violence staged in these photographs as a literal “Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even(ly) cut” as a symbol of the artist’s concept of infra-mince, a physical cut that in this context plays itself out in a long list of Duchampian metaphors.(33) She is a “Fresh Widow,” like the French women Duchamp referred to after the First World War in his 1920 work of the same name (Fig. 18); a work whose title also, coincidentally (?), references the guillotine―“the Widow, in popular French jargon.”(34) Lastly, in several of the crime scene photographs and those of the newspapers, the detectives, policemen, and reporters seem to echo Duchamp’s description of his Occulist Witnesses and bachelors, who “stand, sadly, in ‘uniforms and liveries’” and observe the spectacle before them.(35) (Figs. 19 & 20)
In mid-January 1947 Duchamp returned from a stay in Europe, arriving in New York at the moment the Dahlia case began to unfold. The particulars of the murder and its surrounding controversies were appearing daily in newspapers. The New York Daily News ran headlines and follow-up stories about the Dahlia murder for several weeks.(36) More importantly, at the time of the killing Los Angeles was the home of the artist’s close friend Man Ray. The relationship between these two artists is well documented, and Man Ray’s influence on Duchamp’s conception of Étant donnés has already been suggested.(37) In addition to being engulfed in a sea of newspaper headlines and Hollywood gossip about the killing, Man Ray, like Elizabeth Short, frequented the popular bars and clubs in Hollywood and knew many people in the jet set of the movie community.(38) With his lifelong fascination with sado-masochism, Man Ray would certainly have taken an interest in the particulars of this crime.(39) As a photographer of such repute, Man Ray might have been able to obtain one of the many hundreds of crime scene photographs taken by reporters that circulated through the Hollywood community.(40) These photographs were reproduced and passed from hand-to-hand, and were not censored like the newspaper photographs that displayed the body in situ covered with a sheet, nor were they the “cleaned-up” autopsy photographs that appeared in detective and crime magazines.
These events and shared interests between Duchamp and Man Ray in the context of the Black Dahlia suggest new meanings for two of Duchamp’s later erotic objects, Female Fig Leaf and Wedge of Chastity (Figs. 22 & 23). If Man Ray was partly responsible for introducing Duchamp to the Black Dahlia in 1947 or 1949, this may explain the nature of Duchamp’s gift, Female Fig Leaf, to the photographer. On his return to Paris with his new wife Juliet in 1951, Man Ray was surprised by Duchamp, who was waiting onboard in the couple’s cabin in port in New York City.(47) Duchamp presented Man Ray with an object described as a “wax impression of what looked like a woman’s vulva.”(48) Could this be a hint, or subliminal reference to the body in Étant donnés (or the Dahlia)?(49)
Did this object imply something more than a simple shared interest in eroticism in the form of a farewell gift? With Duchamp’s love of puns and double meanings, one wonders if a linkage to Étant donnés and/or the Black Dahlia continued with the verbal/visual play in another erotic object, Wedge of Chastity. A wedding gift to his wife Alexina (Teeny) Sattler, Duchamp inscribed the object with the phrase, “Pour Teeny 16. Jan. 1954.” The spoken phrase, “Pour Teeny,” in English carries an additional meaning; “poor teeny,” as in the poor starlet who could not fulfil the “love operation” because of her “Wedge of Chastity.” Is it surprising that this “wedge” seems to fit snugly into a kind of “gash?” Or that January 16th was also the day after the murder of Elizabeth Short, the first day the headlines appeared in New York City papers?
In this sense, the Black Dahlia/ Étant donnés comparison can be viewed as the complicated performance of what criminologists term a “copycat” crime, played out within the sphere of art. Elizabeth Short’s life represents Duchamp’s pre-existing tale within the context of a specific time and place. Yet Étant donnés, continuing Duchamp’s penchant for criminal play, becomes a kind of “copycat” crime by re-using a specifically criminal mode of appropriation, and possibly specific details from this crime, as a “readymade” for certain features of his installation. The cyclical indeterminacy of “who copied who” once more suggests the “hinge,” represented this time by the Dahlia murder, which negotiates between the narrative of the Large Glass and Étant donnés (it is amusing as well that the linguistic symbol for Lyotard’s hinge has at its center a slash that “severs” the “and/or” indeterminate). Thus, Duchamp’s narrative and/or the life of Elizabeth Short―the Dahlia murder and/or Étant donnés.
Unlike the Large Glass, however, which presented cryptic visual versions of erotic narratives, Duchamp in Étant donnés, shocked his art audience by performing a spectral flip of his criminal modus operandi. What was, up to this point in his career hidden, was suddenly blatantly revealed.(53) As detective Jess Haskins said of the Dahlia murder, “It was not unusual―the ‘display idea’ as part of a sex crime…Hiding it had been the least of the perpetrator’s concerns.”(54) Duchamp, it is well known, claimed that eroticism was “a way to bring out in the daylight the things that are constantly hidden….because of social rules.”(55) Thus, the earlier use of criminal and erotic subjects and actions emphasized the elusive absence of the living artist and cryptic narratives. Conversely, Étant donnés presents a hypervisible, blatant operation through another kind of artistic absence, first by, as he said, “going underground” during the secret and elusive production of Étant donnés, then through his literal absence in death.(56) In this role reversal, Duchamp exposes the crime and hides himself, like a serial killer, whose “psychosexual nexus is terra incognita.”(57)
As in many famous unsolved murders, Elizabeth Short’s body was not simply dumped in a lot; it was deliberately arranged.(58) Her two halves were placed to repeat the natural position of the body several hours after the actual crime occurred. This gave the crime scene what detectives characterized as a “sacred setting,” implying that messages or meanings could be yielded by its purposeful display.(59) Duchamp also stresses his intentional positioning and display of the body in Étant donnés, controlling among other things our line of vision. As his title implies, we are presented with certain “evidence” from which to attempt to solve this artwork and/or crime.(60) The title, presented in the format of a mathematical equation, ironically suggests that this piece can be “solved” through a logistical program. “Given” it implies, “the waterfall, the illuminated gas, and whatever else you can see.” Here the spectral flip appears to hide the conceptual and offer an overtly constructed physical art environment.(61) Moreover, Duchamp’s strategic placement of Étant donnés at the far rear of the Arensberg room in the Philadelphia Museum of Art creates two further paradoxes. One, it is literally “hidden” in a dark retreat at the back of the “display,” yet shockingly reveals itself within the darkness when the viewer looks through the peepholes. Second, the entire Arensberg room creates an exhibition narrative based on a body of work, that ends with a literal body. The post-Stirnerite works in the brightly lit outside gallery hide the physical mark and presence of their creator and engage us through the conceptual and extra-dimensional. The dark hidden room of Étant donnés offers us the physical, both as literal body and as an attempt in understanding based on the empirical act of seeing.
1. G. Bataille,The Trial of Gilles de Rais, trans. Richard Robinson (Los Angeles, 1991) 13. I was inspired to begin this essay with these words by Stuart Swezey, who included Bataille’s statement in his preface to John Gilmore’s book, Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder, Los Angeles, 1994.
Century, ed. R. Kuenzli and F. M. Naumann (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1989) 29.
4. M. Stirner, The Ego and Its Own (New York, 1907) 361. Duchamp himself stated that his reading of Stirner “marked his complete liberation.” A. Antliff, “Anarchy, Politics, and Dada”, In Making Mischief: Dada Invades New York (Whitney Museum, 1996) 212.
7. W. Hopps and A. d’Harnoncourt, Etant Donnés: 1 la chute d’eau 2 le gaz d’éclairage: Reflections on a New Work by Marcel Duchamp, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin (second reprint) Volume LXIV, Numbers 299 and 300, (April-September 1969, Philadelphia, 1987) 37.
8. In this sense, I disagree with Antliff’s characterization of the American readymades. He states, “Here Duchamp undermined the metaphysical aesthetics and socially imposed conventions that defined ‘art,’ replacing painting and sculpture with mass-produced objects devoid of aesthetic deliberation and any trace of the creative process.” In my opinion, the readymades are neither devoid of aesthetic deliberation nor lacking any trace of the creative process. What the readymades lack are physical traces (visually recognizable) of creation. Instead, the evidence of a creative process is solely conceptual. Antliff, op. cit., p. 213.
9. P. Cabanne, Entretiens avec Marcel Duchamp (Paris, 1967) 165, trans. D. Judovitz, “Rendezvous with Marcel Duchamp: Given”, Marcel Duchamp: Artist of the Century, ed. R.E. Kuenzli and F. M. Naumann (Cambridge, Mass, 1989) 197.
10. As Steven Levine pointed out during the discussion of this paper at the Symposium for the History of Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, imitation could certainly be considered “criminal” as well. As early as Antiquity, the deceitful nature of artistic imitation led Plato to exclude it from his ideal Republic.
11. As Rhonda Shearer points out, it is possible that these objects were not appropriated exactly as they were “found” by Duchamp. Manufacturer catalogs contemporary to the readymades do not contain illustrations that directly match some of Duchamp’s objects. Thus, she suggests the artist may have altered them slightly to further confuse their “origin.” In L. Cambi, “Did Duchamp Deceive Us?”, Art News, v 98 (February 1999) 98-102. Moreover, we know from photographs and remarks by Man Ray that Duchamp’s studio was, for the most part, bare. This also suggests that the artist wished to confuse any attempts to “trace” the source material or influences of his work.
13. Judovitz first suggested that Duchamp possessed criminal qualities in her discussions of Tzank Check and Wanted in Chapter 4 of Unpacking Duchamp: Art in Transit. Her interpretation and discussion of criminality, however, rests solely on the idea of counterfeiting and fake transactions. D. Judovitz, Unpacking Duchamp: Art in Transit (Berkeley, 1995) 167-78. This paper suggests that these are but two of many examples within Duchamp’s artistic career in which he looked to criminality as a means of reconciling his philosophical and aesthetic/non-aesthetic programs. Moreover, Duchamp’s Wanted is included here to emphasize, through his multiple aliases and criminal image, the connection between criminality and elusion (absence).
15. The most complete investigation of the nude body in Etant donnés, its influences, and location within a history of nudes in the landscape is Antonio Juan Ramirez’s discussion in his book Duchamp: Love and Death, Even. In an attempt to separate fact from hearsay, Ramirez asks an important question: “What kind of things might Duchamp have seen or read; with which intellectual wave and artistic movement was he associated at any given moment?” ibid., p. 12. Ramirez’s discussion focuses, for the most part, on art historical sources beginning as early as the end of the 15th century and ending with the surrealist work of Hans Bellmer and others. While he does briefly mention that popular photographs of pornographic subjects were more important than art historical images of the nude, his discussion of this material is brief, and indirect. Rather than answering his own question in relation to this material, Ramirez offers visually similar images but fails to contextualize them and discuss the direct avenues through which Duchamp may have seen or obtained them. Therefore, re-asking Ramirez’s question, I offer the Black Dahlia as a more convincing non-art historical influence.
18. As Gilmore explains, soldiers began to call Elizabeth Short by this name as a re-worked version of a recent film entitled “The Blue Dahlia.” The “Black Dahlia” quickly became a nickname that soldiers would use in their queries as to whether she had been spotted somewhere on the streets each day. Gilmore, op. cit., p. 56.
27. This suggests a more convincing date for the first drawing as 1947 rather than 1945. If Duchamp had seen the photographs of the Black Dahlia, then perhaps they might explain an origin for the pose of the figure, usually referred to as Marie Martins. In addition, the last number of the date inscribed on this drawing, in my opinion, looks much more like a “7” than a “5.” Calvin Tomkins also identifies the date of this drawing as 1947. C. Tomkins, Duchamp: A Biography (New York, 1996) 357.
33. For a detailed discussion of infra-mince, see M. Nesbit “Last Words: (Rilke, Wittgenstein) (Duchamp)”, Art History 21 (December 1998): 547. There are other striking similarities between the images of the Black Dahlia crime scene and Duchamp’s studies for Etant donnés, especially a drawing from 1959 in which the Large Glass is juxtaposed with a landscape that includes telephone poles. These appear in the same area as some of the telephone poles in several crime scene photographs. Moreover, the Occulist Witnesses in Duchamp’s drawing occupy the same position as the policemen and detectives in the crime scene photographs.
36. From January 18th, 1947 through early February the New York Daily News ran three front-page stories, and fourteen other articles that appeared somewhere on the first five pages of the newspaper (most on them on page three).
37. See for example Ramirez, who claims that these “aspects (photographs), along with the adventures shared by the two friends suggests (as we shall see) Man Ray’s considerable influence on Duchamp.” Ramirez, op. cit., p. 221.
38. Elizabeth Short is known to have frequented the following locales: Four Star Grill, Florentine Gardens, The Rhapsody, the Dugout, the Loyal Café, and the Streets of Paris. Moreover, in an email correspondence, John Gilmore informed me that there was a strong possibility that Man Ray may have known the Black Dahlia, or at least met her.
60. Interestingly, a 1945 work sometimes thought to be the earliest model for the nude body was sent to forensics and FBI specialists to test and confirm the material as human semen. Ramirez, op. cit., p. 233. How interesting to think that Duchamp, in an erotic act, used the chance design of his ejaculated semen on a piece of paper as a possible “origin” for a body in Etant donnés.
Figs. 1-10, 13, 15-16, 18-25