The Marcel Duchamp Research Portal Opens, Making Available 18,000 Documents and 50,000 Images Related to the Revolutionary Artist

Mar­cel Duchamp made films, com­posed music, paint­ed Nude Descend­ing a Stair­case, No. 2, designed an art deco chess set, and of course — the first thing most of us learn about him, as well as the last thing many of us learn about him — he put a uri­nal in an art gal­ley. But as you might expect of an artist who spent the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry at the heart of the avant-garde, there’s more to him than that. This notion is backed up by the more than 18,000 doc­u­ments and 50,000 images made avail­able at the Duchamp Research Por­tal, a new­ly opened archive ded­i­cat­ed to the life and work of the rev­o­lu­tion­ary con­cep­tu­al artist.

The fruit of a sev­en-year col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Philadel­phia Muse­um of Art, the Asso­ci­a­tion Mar­cel Duchamp, and the Cen­tre Pom­pi­dou, this for­mi­da­ble dig­i­tal col­lec­tion includes many arti­facts relat­ed to the artist’s best-known work: the “large glass” of The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bach­e­lors, Even; the mus­ta­chioed Mona Lisa; the shock­ing attempts to com­mit phys­i­cal motion to can­vas; and that uri­nal, Foun­tain.

But its “most inter­est­ing items,” writes The Art News­pa­per’s Daniel Cas­sady, “are often the most inti­mate and involve oth­er major play­ers in the evo­lu­tion of 20th-cen­tu­ry art. A 1950 let­ter — with enig­mat­ic mar­gin­a­lia — from Bre­ton. A 1933 post­card to Con­stan­tin Brân­cuși. Many can­did pho­tographs by Duchamp’s friend and fel­low giant of the era, Man Ray.”

These names will be famil­iar to read­ers of Open Cul­ture, where we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured Brân­cuși on film and por­traits of 1920s cul­tur­al icons by Man Ray — who, as we can see from the above snap­shot of Duchamp at his Span­ish home, did­n’t always work so for­mal­ly. But then, no artist can ful­ly be under­stood through what makes it into the art-his­to­ry text­books alone. Browse the Duchamp Research Por­tal (or click “show me more” to change up the images on its front page) and you’ll see pieces of an artis­tic life ful­ly lived: the floor plan of his West 67th Street stu­dio; a 1940 telegram to Amer­i­can patron Wal­ter Con­rad Arens­berg (“HOLDING SHIPMENT OF MASK AWAITING CONFIRMATION OF INSURANCE AND ADDRESS”); a 1954 French news­pa­per pro­file; and a series of images jux­ta­pos­ing Duchamp with an unclothed Eve Bab­itz, the late Los Ange­les “it-girl” — not just the famous one of them play­ing chess.

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear Mar­cel Duchamp Read “The Cre­ative Act,” A Short Lec­ture on What Makes Great Art, Great

Mar­cel Duchamp, Chess Enthu­si­ast, Cre­at­ed an Art Deco Chess Set That’s Now Avail­able via 3D Print­er

Anémic Ciné­ma: Mar­cel Duchamp’s Whirling Avant-Garde Film (1926)

Hear the Rad­i­cal Musi­cal Com­po­si­tions of Mar­cel Duchamp (1912–1915)

What Made Mar­cel Duchamp’s Famous Uri­nal Art — and an Inven­tive Prank

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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