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marcel Duchamp

We Went to the Lower East Side: Paddy Learns to Vine

by Paddy Johnson Whitney Kimball and Corinna Kirsch on April 3, 2013
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In the second part of our visit out to the Lower East Side we visit Callicoon, Toomer Labzda, Essex Street, Klaus Von Nichtssagend, and DCKT. Sara Ludy at Klaus comes out on top.

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Manifesta: “Something old and tyrannical burning there”

by Eva Heisler on July 3, 2012
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“A portable climate.” That’s what Ralph Waldo Emerson called coal. “Every basket is power and civilization,” he wrote in 1860. Coal is not only a portable climate but “it is the means of transporting itself whithersoever it is wanted,” Emerson added, noting “a half-ounce of coal will draw two tons a mile, and coal carries coal, by rail and by boat, to make Canada as warm as Calcutta.”

Writing 100 years later, Thomas McGrath contrasts coal fire to wood fire in his poem “A Coal Fire in Winter.” With a coal fire, there is “[s]omething old and tyrannical burning there.” This is “heat / From the time before there was fire.” Coal, compressed plant matter accumulated over 100,000 years, is the legacy of a “sunken kingdom” and its flames are “carbon serpents of bituminous gardens.”

Coal—as fuel, as fossil, as material, as metaphor, as “black gold,” as historical force—is the starting point of Manifesta 9, situated in the main building of the former Waterschei mining facility in Genk, Belgium.

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The Job of The Artist

by Paddy Johnson on September 27, 2011
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Duchamp did a very valuable and important thing in introducing manmade objects into the world of art. That provided us with an enormous vocabulary of new materials but, more importantly, it made us realize that we do not have to change the object if we can change the terms around it. That made the world into two different kinds of specifies, with every object having two facets, one being its physical qualities, and the other being its metaphysical qualities. It’s not the soup can on the shelf, but the the soup can we all have in our heads.

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Things to Stop Talking About: The Readymade

by Corinna Kirsch on February 24, 2011
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The readymade needs to die, just like the term “white cube.” Both have become catch-all terms that lack any specific reference to their original source. Discussions of the objet trouvé are relevant only if they refer to Duchamp's Fountain (1917) or things that, like Fountain, were mass-produced and then, with very little mediation on the artist's part, placed into an art context. My problems with using the term “readymade” (in gallery press-releases, art historical writing, blog posts, etcetera) after the jump.

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