Marcel Duchamp, Appearance Stripped Bare

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Arcade Publishing, 1990 - Art - 211 pages
4 Reviews
Octavio Paz claims in this essential work that the two painters who had the greatest influence on the twentieth century were Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp. If that conjunction surprises at first, Paz makes a convincing case with his analysis and by contrasting the two artists. "I have linked their two names," he writes, "because it seems to me that each of them has in his own way succeeded in defining our age: the former by what he affirms; the latter by what he negates, by his explorations." Considering Duchamp's career and writings from his scandalous Nude Descending a Staircase in 1913 to his subsequent investigations, from his Large Glass and kinetic art to the Readymades and "physiques amusantes" ("comic calculations"), Paz offers a highly personal assessment, exploring the apparent contradictions and seeming enigmas with the insight and lucidity that characterized all his writing. When this book was first published, Publishers Weekly called it an "extraordinary and indispensable book" and said: "Paz may have come closer to Duchamp's essence as a philosopher of spiritual freedom than any critic to date."

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Review: Marcel Duchamp: Appearance Stripped Bare

User Review  - Maureen Cohn - Goodreads

This work is something between a meditation and a fever dream about a society where the artist philosopher is indeed king. Read full review

Review: Marcel Duchamp: Appearance Stripped Bare

User Review  - Neil Howe - Goodreads

Hilarious. Paz channels Duchamp's irony effortlessly. Reveals an approachable take on Duchamp, one of the most difficult artists and thinkers to reconcile. Read full review


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About the author (1990)

Octavio Paz (1914-1998) was born in Mexico City. He wrote many volumes of poetry, as well as a prolific body of remarkable works of non ction on subjects as varied as poetics, literary and art criticism, politics, culture, and Mexican history. He was awarded the Jerusalem Prize in 1977, the Cervantes Prize in 1981, and the Neustadt Prize in 1982. He received the German Peace Prize for his political work, and finally, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990.

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