Duchamp has ratings and 19 reviews. Frank said: No book in a long while has made me think as deeply about art as has Calvin Tomkins’ excellent biogra. This revised edition of Calvin Tomkins’s Duchamp: A Biography arrives on the artist from the Time-Life Library of Art; The World of Marcel Duchamp appeared. Nearly everything about L.A. appealed to Ruscha. He wanted to live there, and he knew that the only thing he could be was an artist. By Calvin Tomkins.

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But it was a series of four profiles he wrote for The New Yorker in the otmkins s — on Jean Tinguely, Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage and Duchamp — that fully revealed to him the exciting possibilities of art. This was so powerful, that tomkinns could be all these other things. A staff writer for The New Yorker sinceTomkins has also published over a dozen books, most recently Marcel Duchamp: I thought we might start where it all started for you: In what ways do you see his continuing influence today?

As the grandfather of what came to be known as Conceptual art, his idea that art was not solely and exclusively a visual thing has permeated the atmosphere. I think that largely goes back to Duchamp. He said toomkins one point that the readymade is really a form of expressing the impossibility of defining art. Art is too diffuse, too vital. Certainly, we no longer can think of art as something that hangs on the wall. That is the work of art.

The art remains with the tomkinw. Art is so many things now. An artist can go in any direction.

Magali Reus

That makes it much easier in some ways and much dudhamp difficult in other ways. It can be of no interest or importance at all. Duchamp gave the freedom for this tomkijs to become widespread, but the interesting thing is that hardly anybody imitates Duchamp. His attitude can be learned from, but the things he did cannot. His craftsmanship was amazingly good, and he was willing to devote infinite time.

It was just duchanp exquisite, in a way. CT I doubt it. BM You wrote something in the introduction to your book Post- to Neo-: The Art World of the s [] that I wanted to ask you about.

What do you mean by that? CT With Duchamp you never get a conclusion in that sense. Duchamp is all about openings and contradictions and possibilities. A mistake that is made over and over again by people who are thinkers about Duchamp is that they try to figure out a system that explains him.


Duchamp had no interest in systems, and his work cannot be explained that way. Duchamp eludes all attempts to trap him in a systematic theory. That was 50 years ago.

Do you thinkhis prediction has come true? Or given the fact that he himself continues to have such a strong influence, does that suggest continuity? You could say that the Abstract Expressionist period was the anti-Duchampian era of the art establishment.

It was no coincidence that during that period, in the s and early s, Duchamp was forgotten. A lot of people thought he was dead. It came slowly, but it was a really major revolution. But no revolution lasts forever. You keep thinking that sooner or later there has to be a counterrevolution, and that Duchamp will be relegated to a place in art history that is no longer the present.

BM Have you seen any kernels of what might be a new revolution? There are so many artists who want their work to resonate in society, to go outside of the artworld, to go outside of art.

To my mind, that could become an anti-Duchampian situation, but there are so many tendencies now. CT One of them that comes to mind is Paul Chan, whose art, to me, is completely unpredictable.

It goes from the Marquis de Sade to technology, and he is so bright and smart and his mind is so alert that it could go off in a completely new direction.

That passage struck me as sounding very contemporary. What is your sense of how that commentary resonated then versus now? CT Rirkrit is certainly one of the artists who is involved with the social aspects. The whole idea that art can be him cooking for you is quite revolutionary.

The whole thing is contradictory, because Duchamp warned against the increasing commercialisation of art, and his prophecies have been borne out way beyond anything he could have imagined.

Now the commercial aspects of art have become, in many ways, more important than the art. You can see this leading to a real crash, which would be connected with the breakdown of society — the breakdown of corporate Western society.

Talking Marcel Duchamp With Calvin Tomkins – WWD

In some ways, art could have an influence on that. These artists now who want to go beyond art, meta-art, and have an influence on ducjamp We also have this overproduction of artists in the world. All over the Western world, new artists are being hatched every year.


Thousands and thousands are coming out of college.

Well, what if the two things are related? What if it turns out that the solution duchap unemployment is that, as Joseph Beuys said, everyone is an artist? They can figure out new ways of living and existing with the resources at hand. I can imagine Duchamp thinking this. Your writing really seems to capture their personalities. How does it feel to think of your – self as an influential person, for example, suchamp terms of how we see these people or how your writing has impacted others?

I do get people, including artists, who said they read The Bride and the Bachelors when they were in art school, or even before, and that it had a big influence on them. I attribute it to this thing, this stroke of luck, that I just went from one artist to the other in the beginning, and then discovered that they were all related in these different ways. They began to try to valvin out what art was instead of just trying to pursue it, and this led them in all sorts of new directions.

I respect the art of criticism and I read critics with great interest and delight, but I never wanted calvkn be one. You know, John Cage said that at any one time one of the arts is doing the talking and the others are listening. At the time he said it, he felt it was music that was doing the talking and the others were listening. When I started, there was no art coverage in the news magazines and there was no regular coverage, even tomkims Time.

Interview Calvin Tomkins, by Bridget McCarthy / ArtReview

There was no critic. Contemporary art, particularly, was considered a ridiculous and foolish aberration. The change has been so enormous.

The artworld, which used to be about 20 people, is now a big international industry.