The Non-Dada

Main Readymade
Original version, 1922
Original Version:

1922, New York
Collection Gabrielle Keiller, London
religious pamphlet in envelope
14.3 x 11.1 cm

In 1922, Duchamp sent this 48-page booklet to Man Ray, who was in Paris at the time. In a letter dated October 1922, Duchamp writes, "...this thing I sent you is a (real) 'pamphlet' that I found at some friends' place" (Naumann 123). This "pamphlet" was printed by the "vocational pupils of the School of Four C's (Caney Creek Community Center) in Pippopass, Knott County, Kentucky (April-May 1922)" (Schwarz 699). Duchamp couldn't bear religious fundamentalism. Accordingly, the title of this piece suggests that embracing such ideas, or being "Non-Dada," is to miss the basics of life.

A gendered interpretation is suggested (as in numerous other Readymades) through the signature of "Rrose Selavy," Duchamp's female alter ego. It is unclear if any aspect of the actual pamphlet may have sexual connotations; however, it may be rightly assumed that any that are present would be wholly unintentional considering its religious content.

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