ARTH 785
20th Century Art: Marcel Duchamp
Instructor: Dr. Taylor
T 4-6

Course Description

This course will examine the critical and artistic reception of the work of Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968). This will involve a close reading of the vast literature on the artist, as well as Duchamp's own writings and interviews. Each week, students will investigate a different facet of the artist's work and ideas, for example his interest in humor, puns and word games; optics and film; philosophy; gender and eroticism; chance; etc., as well as looking at many of the key works in his oeuvre, such as "The Nude Descending a Staircase"; "The Large Glass"; and "Etant donnÈs". This discussion will culminate with the complex question of Duchamp's legacy. One of the key components of this course will be the interaction with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which owns 95 % of the artist's production, thanks to the bequest of the Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection in 1950. The group will pay regular visits to the Museum to study the artist's work in both the permanent Duchamp Gallery, and the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. This behind-the-scenes access to the Museum's collection of works of art, along with unpublished photographs, letters, and documents will offer students the unique opportunity to examine Duchamp's work in the flesh, as well as providing fresh insights into the artist's achievement. Above all, this course will challenge received ideas, misunderstandings, and misinformation on this enigmatic artist in an effort to redefine
the artist's provocative art and ideas for a new generation.

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Last update: August 28, 2001

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