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Dada Exhibitions etc.

Marcel Duchamp

The exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris dedicated to Marcel Duchamp offers a new interpretation of the paintings of one of the most iconic figures in 20th century art. [...]

Today, the ready-mades, assisted and non-, the urinal fountains and the bicycle wheels are all placed on stand-by or, like floral wallpaper, are scattered throughout a magnificent collection of second-rate and more or less precise examples of amateur painting. Unfortunately, his self-same minutiae for traces and notes has turned the curators' heads, as has the great debunking of the portable museum. Was it not Duchamp who closed all his work in a suitcase, assisted by Joseph Cornell, and, with the aid of English Pop-artist Richard Hamilton, agreed to replicate the unmovable Large Glass?

The desire for visibility inflicted a tragicomic destiny on his chess game with the history of painting, won from the very outset because it had already been lost against the 20th-century giants -– Matisse in particular. He was, after all, the one who advocated the most radical Dada expressions but, even more, he who– the Arensbergs' parlour in the esoteric and Carbonaro New York of the early avant-gardes – welcomed the loudest voice of the century, Arthur Cravan, the intellectual boxer who had railed against the Salon's policies. Today, the highly intellectual Duchamp pays the price of his middling-quality daubs. [...]

Ivo Bonacorsi in Domus, October 16, 2014

Paris Journal: Marcel Duchamp. La Peinture, Même

One of the most moving images in the current show of early Duchamp paintings, "Marcel Duchamp. La peinture, même" at the Centre Pompidou, is actually the last work he ever did, Given (Etant donnés) 1: The Waterfall. 2. The Illuminating Gas. For an artist famous for trumpeting cold thought, it's a memory of lost emotion, a fading and elusive eroticism in the form of a naked spread legged woman that conveys the ephemerality of physical desire. The piece at the Centre Pompidou is a model (produced by Ulf Linde) and when you view the original work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art you can actually see the naked torso through a peep hole. Duchamp worked on this from l946-66 and much of the accompanying text for the current show, ingeniously reflects the same wistful recalling of earlier impulses--in particular the artist's one time desire to create conventional works of art (instead of the readymades, like Fountain, for which he would become famous). Here is what Duchamp says looking back on the most famous of his early paintings,

"For Nude Descending (a Staircase), I wanted to create a static image of movement; movement as an abstraction, an articulated deduction within the painting, without our knowing if a real person is or isn't descending any equally real staircase. Fundamentally, movement is in the eye of the spectator, who incorporates it into the painting." [...]

Francis Levy in The Huffington Post, 16 october 2014

What Marcel Duchamp Taught Me

Artists to pay respects to the revolutionary Marcel Duchamp in new exhibition

The exhibition, which opens this week, now features more than 50 artists, including Peter Blake, Keith Tyson, Gavin Turk, Michael Craig-Martin, Cornelia Parker and David Shrigley.

When Marcel Duchamp placed a bicycle wheel on a wooden stool just over a hundred years ago, did he know exactly what he was setting spinning?

With Bicycle Wheel, he launched the concept of the "readymade" – an everyday object that is art because the artist says so. And then, four years later, created a "readymade" icon in Fountain, the urinal, laid on its back, regularly cited as the most important single artwork of the 20th century. The readymades are widely viewed as the birth of conceptual art. Yet given that, a century later, we're still not done with the "but is it art?" question, it's fair to say Duchamp's provocations are still relevant, still vital. [...]

The Fine Art Society, London W1, 10 October to 5 November 2014

Holly Williams in The Independent 05 October 2014

Ai Weiwei takes his place among the greats amid the opulence of Blenheim

Everyone in the world knows by now that Ai Weiwei is a man of courage, a devastatingly effective political artist and campaigner. His new exhibition at Blenheim Palace, seat of the dukes of Marlborough and one of Europe's great secular buildings, reveals that he also has a diabolical sense of humour. [...]

In truth, interventions by contemporary artists in stately homes, cathedrals and suchlike venerable venues are themselves not exactly new. What makes this so different and striking is that Ai – working from his studio in Beijing as he is unable to leave China due to the state's attentions – has orchestrated a full-scale retrospective in these archaic surroundings. Why did he do it? Spencer-Churchill can only guess why he accepted the invitation.

"I think the Churchill connection was very important for him," he suggests.

For this is the house where Winston Churchill was born. The part of the house where the great war leader came into the world is preserved as a shrine. Beside Churchill's purple velvet "siren suit" and slippers, Ai shows a decadent-looking vegetative creation. Above the bed in the room officially called Churchill's Birth Room, he has hung a profile of Marcel Duchamp made out of a wire coat hanger. [...]

Duchamp unleashed complete freedom in art. Is he then the Churchill of art? But the mood is one of mad laughter. Ai seems to be having some immense joke by showing his art so copiously in such ripely historic surrounding. Is he metaphorically giving the finger to Blenheim itself or, more likely, to us, we British? [...]

Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, 1 October -– 14 December 2014

Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, 26 September 2014

Dada at the Isaacs Gallery

December 20, 1961 - January 9, 1962
Isaacs Gallery
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Read on if you are interested in what was happening in Canada over fifty years ago. Some of the people involved were Michel Sanouillet, Greg Curnoe, Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland.