A major exhibition of the
work of MARCEL DUCHAMP "Artist of the Century" is being presented for
the first time in Northern California at the center of a Duchamp Festival
at California State University, Hayward. October 2001 - February 2002...
For many years Picasso and Matisse
were considered the most influential artists of the 20th century. That
evaluation has changed. Now, Marcel Duchamp is widely considered the most
influential artist of the 20th century.
How he came to occupy this position
is a long rich story much of which will be "told" in the CSUH Art Gallery
and celebrated around the campus in the CSUH Duchamp Festival.
to Lanier Graham, the Gallery's Director, "Duchamp is often thought of
as the 'Daddy of Dada,' as it developed during World War I, and as the
'Grandpa of Pop', as Pop Art developed during the 1950s & '60s, as well
as the 'Conceiver of Conceptual Art.' But he was a great deal more. With
remarkable spontaneity and seemingly effortless ease, he put forth a lifelong
series of revolutionary objects and attitudes including a remarkable nonattachment
to fame or fortune. His modesty astonished everyone who knew him, while
his fertile ideas inspired millions of artists. Duchamp's influence, which
started during the period of Dada & Surrealism, continued to grow during
the Abstract Expressionist era of Pollock and de Kooning and the Neo-Dada
era of Johns and Rauschenberg. His influence continues to expand in the
ever widening waves of Postmodernism today.
gave new status to artists by saying art is whatever the artist says is
art, not what critics say art is. Many critics still hate him for that.
In a world that had come to rely too much on reason, he emphasized the
intuitive side of our brain by his explorations of chance and open-endedness,
an open-endedness that said the viewer is the co-creator of every work
of art. In short, he democratized art in a new way.
also was fascinated by science, especially electromagnetism. What electromagnetic
energy is, and how it moves through our bodies and throughout the universe
as a whole, occupied much of his thinking. Any number of his works bring
together left-brain science with right-brain visualizations. In his famous
work, "The Large Glass," the Bride and the Bachelors are divided and never
touch, yet they are connected by "wireless" energy. He later used telephone
lines to symbolize this flowing of love-energy back and forth, and reminded
us that people, not communication systems, are the real 'media.'
grew tired of art that appeals only to the eye, and worked to elevate
contemporary art above the merely visual and physical to the level of
the metaphysical. His philosophical statements are among the most profound
in the history of art.
using a good many words with his images, and by leaving meanings open-ended,
he required that we think and feel at the same time. There was method
to his madness. He based much of his work on the metaphysical ideal of
Androgyny (true male-female balance) both in psychology and sociology.
That earned him the rare respect of feminist art historians. Bringing
together within ourselves the so-called 'male' capacity to be rational
and the so-called 'female' capacity to be intuitive is the perennial goal
of the great Wisdom Paths: Shamanism, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism,
Islam, and Christianity. This dynamic harmony is said to be the key to
became the supreme goal of Modern artists in their non-religious quest
for wholeness, their secular search for the sacred. However, few were
able to attain this ideal. Various kinds of self-centeredness got in the
way. Duchamp was not without shortcomings and may not have attained total
selflessness, but he seems to have come closer than most.
place of the usual (and often egocentric) insistence on self-expression,
Duchamp pointed out that self-centeredness can be removed from the artistic
process. In his 'ready-mades' (anonymous manufactured objects he selected
and signed), he generated the idea of art-without-artists, and thus opened
even further the opportunity for image-making to everyone. Selecting,
he said, is a creative act. Moreover, by often replicating his earlier
works, the concept of self moved even further away from the object and
opened out toward the not-self. The unification of self and not-self is
the ultimate aim of traditional metaphysical philosophy.
he never lost respect for well-crafted quality. His every object was made
with loving care, as were his relationships with others. Duchamp celebrated
human nature in general and the erotic impulse in particular, advising
above all loving and being loved. He also thought of the connection between
art and life as a kind of oneness. And all along the way, he recommended
2) THE FESTIVAL
CSUH Duchamp Festival, based on California collections and California
scholarship, will include a wide variety of experiences that reflect the
many sides of Duchamp. In the University Art Gallery, "Marcel Duchamp
& The Art of Life" will be a concise but comprehensive selection of his
visual work on loan from major California museums such as the Norton Simon
Museum in Pasadena, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and The Fine
Arts Museums of San Francisco, as well as from private collectors in the
San Francisco Bay Area.
is the first large-scale Duchamp exhibition in Northern California, and
the most comprehensive Duchamp exhibition in California since his first
museum retrospective in Pasadena in 1963.
University Art Gallery also has organized a Symposium featuring recent
Duchamp research by scholars from the San Francisco Bay Area. Included
will be Wanda Corn, Professor of Art History at Stanford University, speaking
on "Duchamp & Early American Modernism"; James Housefield, formerly of
CSUH and now at Southwest Texas State University, speaking on "Duchamp
& Leonardo da Vinci"; and Lanier Graham, Director of the University Art
Gallery at CSUH, speaking on "Duchamp & Androgyny," a paper that will
include parts of Graham's conversations with Duchamp when they played
chess together in the 1960s.
exhibition catalogue is being edited by Lanier Graham. Graham is well
known in Duchamp circles for his book CHESS SETS (1968), which
was assisted by Duchamp and dedicated to Duchamp, and for "IMPOSSIBLE
REALITIES: MARCEL DUCHAMP & THE SURREALIST TRADITION" - the exhibition
Graham curated at the Norton Simon Museum of Art in 1991.
dances, and music were important to Duchamp, from his earliest years to
his later years when he was involved with John Cage (who was strongly
influenced by Duchamp's work), and Merce Cunningham whose dancers have
often danced around inflatable Duchampian objects which were designed
by Jasper Johns after Duchamp's "Large Glass."
of these aspects of Duchamp's spirit, the CSUH Department of Theater &
Dance is performing one of Duchamp's favorite plays, UBU ROI, directed
by Ric Prindle, and presenting a new Duchampian dance on the theme of
chess, under the supervision of Laura Renaud-Wilson, who studied with
Cunningham. CSUH musicians, under the supervision of the avant-garde composer
Scot Gresham-Lancaster, are planning to present 'music' by Duchamp, and
compositions by John Cage.
authorities from coast to coast are praising the concept and content of
the Festival, both for its breadth and its depth. Among those who are
looking forward to the Festival and have contributed to helpful information
are Bonnie Clearwater, of Miami Beach, editor of West Coast Duchamp,
Linda D. Henderson of the University of Texas at Austin, author of Duchamp
in Context: Science and Technology in the Large Glass and Related
Works, Francis M. Naumann of New York, author of Marel Duchamp:
The Art of Making Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Moira
Roth of Mills College in Oakland,author of Difference / Indifference:
Musings on Postmodernism, Marcel Duchamp and John Cage, Naomi Sawelson-Gorse
of Claremont, editor of Women in DADA, and Michael Taylor, Curator
of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, who is
responsible for the most important Duchamp collection in the world.
For further information, contact Sylvia Medeiros,
CSUH Arts Marketing Coordinator at (510) 885-4299, or email@example.com