All the environmental pieces, activities, slice-of-life video works, information pieces and ‘Art Tech’ shows we’ve become accustomed to owe their existence to Duchamp’s idea about a snow shovel.
So wrote Allen Kaprow back in 1973 on the powerful legacy of the artist’s readymades. Works such as Fountain (recently voted most influential artwork of the twentieth century) essentially paved the way for 100 years of ‘isms‘, but, as Duchamp once said, eroticism was the only ‘ism‘ in which he could truly believe. Inevitably, he forms the central axis in Tate Modern’s forthcoming exhibition Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia, which explores the inter-relationships between this unholy trinity. All three have made their mark on many generations of artists – Bruce Nauman has paid eloquent tribute to Man Ray, while Sigmar Polke has drawn inspiration from late Picabia.
A quieter legacy exists for the artists who feature in Tate Britain’s Modern Painters: The Camden Town Group. The gritty realism of the likes of Sickert, Harold Gilman and Charles Ginner is a vein that runs through much twentieth-century British art, from Frank Auerbach to Gillian Wearing. Of course, artists pick and choose their influences, but some may just be stumbled upon. How would the art of Klimt and the young Picasso have turned out (or, for that matter, a few Gothic science fiction writers) if they had not seen Edward Burne-Jones’s paintings? Nowadays, artists draw inspiration from a multitude of sources, not merely heroes, friends or past masters. For his painting, Peter Doig absorbs all sorts of ‘mental archives‘, ranging from memories of his childhood in Canada to filmic, music and painterly references, while the late Juan Muñoz, due to have his first UK retrospective at Tate Modern, worked with a rich mix of artistic and cultural elements – from poetry to magic – for his sculptural installations. And what will be their legacies? Duchamp, as always, had his own humorous view: ‘I would rather wait for the public that will come 50 years – or 100 years – after my death.‘
Bice Curiger and Simon Grant
In this issue
Appreciations on Duchamp, Man Ray and Picabia by Jacqueline Matisse Monnier, T.J. Demos, George Baker and Kim Knowles.
In 1927 Marcel Duchamp married Lydie Fischer Sarazin-Levassor. The wedding was filmed by Man Ray and attended by Picabia. Here, we publish an extract from Sarazin-Levassor’s newly translated autobiography which gives an insight into Duchamp’s Spartan living habits – and his love of French puns.
A personal reflection by Jacqueline Matisse Monnier.
A figure standing on the branches of a tree; a long-haired man in a canoe staring out at the river; a boy lost in concentration testing the ice on a frozen pond. Welcome to the painterly world of Peter Doig, whose imagery comes from a variety of sources - part memory, part art history, part borrowing from magazines, film stills, and posters.
Modern Painters: Sickert's famous dictum heralded a move towards a gritty realism in British painting
Broken Kilometer, as Kellein writes, surpasses many other great works: "Even Barnett Newman's 'zip' paintings, Dan Flavin's fluorescent tube installations or Henri Matisse's captivating chapel in Vence are not likely to fill the viewer with such wonder."
Rose Hilton talks about her selection of works for her exhibition at Tate St Ives.
A personal reflection on the French-born artist from her daughter, Laura Gabriela.
In his first visit to the Tate archive, the writer Paul Bailey is surprised to find an early painted sketch by a much admired English artist
To coincide with the first exhibition to explore the inter-relationship between Duchamp, Man Ray and Picabia, to be staged at Tate Modern, Marcadé examines how they laid the foundations of much contemporary art.
He had six paintings in London’s International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936, but was never formally a surrealist. His work has always been hard to define. From his 1930s Harlem pictures to the much underrated late landscapes, Burra’s view of the world was unlike that of any of his contemporaries.
To coincide with the first exhibition to explore the inter-relationship between Duchamp, Man Ray and Picabia at Tate Modern, Allan Savage looks at the fascination of all three artists with the game of chess.
The huge painting The Sleep of King Arthur in Avalon is going on display at Tate Britain for the first time. Its creator, Edward Burne-Jones, is often seen as an artist of his time, but, as his new biographer says, he remains underrated.
In 1935 Gertrude Stein wrote that in a painting there should be “no air…no feeling of air”. As Steven Connor explains, air has become as much the subject of art, as that which it surrounds.
The French-born artist who died in 2002 is perhaps best known for her large, brightly coloured sculptures of female figures, as well as her Shooting Paintings – done in the early 1960s with the help of Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and her second husband Jean Tinguely. However, her formative years were spent with her first husband, the writer Harry Mathews, between 1950 and 1960. He talks about this time to Tate Etc.
He was said to be one of the ‘most ingenious artists of his generation’ and someone who had ‘an infectious fascination for the world about him’, but Juan Muñoz (1953–2001) described himself simply as a storyteller. His enigmatic sculptural installations, often populated by figures, have perplexed and delighted audiences in equal measure. To coincide with the survey exhibition of his work at Tate Modern, Tate Etc. speaks to James Lingwood, who knew the artist well and collaborated with him on many projects