Marcel Duchamp & Robert Hughes – clip from Shock Of The New (1982)

I found this clip on YouTube today that I think is very interesting. I’m a fan of Marcel Duchamp’s work and also like Robert Hughes (who unfortunately passed away recently). Hughes wrote Shock Of The New, which in both book and film form has been a major influence on countless people. In the first part of this clip, Duchamp explains his thoughts that led him to painting Nude Descending a Staircase (No2) 1912, interspersed with commentary from Hughes. The later half of the clip features Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even also known as The Large Glass 1915/1923. I’m impressed by Duchamp’s continual subversion of expected notions of art as well as himself. He intentionally contradicted himself in order, as he expresses it, to not conform to his own tastes. Around the time of and proceeding Nude Descending a Staircase (No2), Duchamp outwardly defamed painting as being unable to compete with the advancing modern world, only to return to the medium in 1918 with the painting Tu m’. Although admittedly, he apparently openly detested painting and it’s suggested that the title translates as ‘You bore me’. Duchamp was concerned with art that didn’t rely solely on the eye, or retinal art as he called it. Later in his life Duchamp publicly gave up making art in favour of playing chess. After his death in 1968 an installation piece called Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas, 1946-66 was discovered in his apartment, complete with detailed instructions on how to dismantle and reconstruct the piece. Another contradiction.

A couple of months ago I completed a private painting commission, where I created my own version of Nude Descending a Staircase (No2). Click here to see my painting.

Hope you enjoy the clip.

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