The readymades of Marcel Duchamp
are ordinary manufactured objects that the artist selected and modified, as an antidote to what he called "retinal art".Tomkins: Duchamp: A Biography
, page 158. By simply choosing the object (or objects) and repositioning or joining, titling and signing it, the object became art. As the process involved the least amount of interaction between artist and art, it represented the most extreme form of minimalism up to that time.
Duchamp was not interested in what he called "retinal art" — art that was only visual — and sought other methods of expression. As an antidote to "retinal art" he began creating readymades at a time (1915) when the term was commonly used in the US
to describe manufactured items to distinguish them from handmade goods.
He selected the pieces on the basis of "visual indifference,"Cabanne: Dialogs with Marcel Duchamp
, Thames and Hudson (1971), page 48. Cabanne: What determined your choice of readymades? Duchamp: That depended on the object. In general, I had to beware, at the end of fifteen days, you begin to like it or hate it. You have to approach something with indifference, as if you had no aesthetic emotion. The choice of readymades is always based on visual indifference and, at the same time, on the total absence of good or bad taste.
and the selections reflect his sense of irony, humor and ambiguity. "...it was... Read More