I feel it is my duty...nay...my OBLIGATION to put into writing my thoughts on the book I have just finished reading called "Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp" , which was written in 1967 by Pierre Cabanne. I learned a great many things about the "Accidental Artist", which I have now termed him, most which were surprising. The first is, he never stopped working, like so many believe. I understand, now, that he stopped "PAINTING"...but quietly kept "making" and "assembling".
Hmm. Surprise surprise. All the way up into graduate school...it was mentioned time and time again that he stopped working as an artist immediately after the "Fountain" episode. Unless I misunderstood, which could very well be the case. This is a relief to me. A man who, with no formal education, a disgust for "Retinal" art (eye candy) and a real hatred for the formalities of the art world, becoming one of the most famous and respected artists' of all time really got up my nose.
I feel much better now.
It seems to me that Duchamp was a person who needed to be challenged... mostly to keep from being bored. His was a life that craved "Amusement". Every other comment he made was "It amused me" or "It was amusing". What did I make of this? I felt as if he was making fun of the interviewer, that the first three quarters of the "Dialogue" was a joke to him. I thought he was retarded. Honestly. Then I thought maybe he was being contradictory not because it amused him...but because he hated the whole process of being interviewed.
He didn't seem very likable.
Then things started to change. Duchamp began to speak about his work. His art. Other artists that were making work at the time...and then I understood. Duchamp felt nothing but irritation for anything made that was completely non-conceptual. And, as so much of art then, as now, IS non-conceptual, why bother? His "ANTI-ART " sentiments resounded loudly to me.
So...what's the point of making art if it is purely decorative? It's uninteresting and pointless. It's BORING. He needed amusement...a challange, something that made him think. I hear you, Marcel, I hear you.