Please Touch: Dada and Surrealist Objects After the Readymade

Front Cover
UPNE, 2010 - Art - 279 pages
Runner-up for the Robert Motherwell Book Award

Touch suggests a broad range of physical, intellectual, and emotional connections that serve to undermine the dominance of vision in histories of modernism. By exploding notions of the very nature of art, the artists considered in this beautifully illustrated monograph introduced fundamentally new conceptions of subjectivity and engagement for the modernist era. While offering an entertaining and engaging history of dada and surrealism, Please Touch presents a persuasive argument highlighting the role of "tactility," which it defines as a decentralized, fragmented, and intimate form of knowing. In this compelling volume, Janine Mileaf offers the first full-length consideration of Marcel Duchamp's readymades and their profound legacy in the transatlantic context of dada and surrealism. This book embraces a broad range of art objects: consumer items such as the urinal and bottlerack that Duchamp "sneaked" into art exhibits; flea-market assemblages fabricated by his interwar avant-garde successors Man Ray, André Breton, Salvador Dalí, Meret Oppenheim, and others; and the bricolage boxes of American surrealist Joseph Cornell.

Please Touch is an intriguing exploration of some of the twentieth century's most important art and artists that will appeal to a broad range of art historians and interdisciplinary scholars.
 

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Contents

The Tactility of the Object
1
The Taste of Marcel Duchamps Readymades
21
Man Rays Object to Be Destroyed
55
André Breton at the Flea Market of SaintOuen
85
Plates
115
Surrealist Politics of Exhibition
119
Joseph Cornells Sandboxes and the Extension as Palpable Memory
157
Conclusion
189
Notes
195
Selected Bibliography
237
Index
263
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

JANINE MILEAF is an associate professor of art history at Swarthmore College.

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