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  • The Secret of Marcel Duchamp [VHS]
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The Secret of Marcel Duchamp [VHS]

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Product Details

  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Homevision
  • VHS Release Date: June 13, 2000
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B00001REAN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,355 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 1913, Marcel Duchamp shocked the cultural establishment when he turned everyday objects into works of art simply by adding his signature: from a snow shovel to a bicycle wheel to a glass bottle of Paris air to a defaced image of the Mona Lisa.

Amazon.com

Marcel Duchamp kept a secret for over 20 years: while the art world had wrongly assumed that one of the 20th century's most important artists had given up creating art, Duchamp was building his final masterpiece, Etant Donnes ("given"). Duchamp didn't allow the piece to be viewed by the public until after his death in 1968. This left him shielded from the questions that developed after the piece debuted. Simply described, it is a peepshow. Through an old wooden façade, one looks through to see a sculpted open-legged nude lying in a field. The critics were stumped. What did Duchamp leave us with? This BBC documentary from 1997 dissects and examines the pieces of this assemblage. Including archival footage from a 1966 BBC interview and interviews with old lovers, friends, neighbors, and his stepchildren, the video sheds a wealth of light on the enigmatic Duchamp and his final work. In the end, we are left with a substantial basis to approach what becomes a remarkably personal piece. Serving as a fitting introduction, as well as an excellent source of material on Duchamp's later years, The Secret of Marcel Duchamp will even tame those stick-shaking critics who feel the man destroyed what he was never able to avoid--the world of art. --Ted Sonnenschein

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By darragh o'donoghue on January 16, 2002
When Marcel Duchamp died in 1968, he hadn't exhibited a new work in over 40 years, having apparently given up creation for chess, art-dealing and installing exhibitions. For the last decades of his life, however, he was working on an installation which, when posthumously exhibited, would become one of the most celebrated, controversial and enigmatic artworks of the 20th century. Many critics felt it denied everything the anti-art Dadaist had striven for. The 'Etant Donnee' consists of a peephole looking onto a partially obscured naked woman lying on a field in a strange landscape. This film gives some of the personal background to the work. An informative introduction to Duchamp's art as a whole, it uses interveiws with friends, fellow artists, historians, relatives and survivors to contextualise the piece in Duchamp's oeuvre (the lamp held in the model's hand, for instance, is one of his earliest ready-mades) and chart its probable source, a passionate affair with the wife of a Brazilian diplomat, herself a sculptor of no mean talent. There is some delightful interview footage of the mischievous poseur, anecdotes about his life-long attempts to wind up the art establishment and insights into his work that show it was much more personal and emotionally driven than his reputation for coneptual waggery might suggest. There is a tendency to redundant literalism in the filming, however: wherever reference is made to Duchamp's contemptuous dismissal of his early figurative work as 'swimming lessons', we get repeated shots of a young man in a pool. Er...
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