MARCEL DUCHAMP'S ART AND THE GEOGRAPHY OF MODERN PARIS*

Authors


  • *

    I am very grateful to Denis Cosgrove, Diana Davis, Linda Henderson, Roger Shattuck, and Hellmut Wohl, whose early and sustained input contributed immensely to the development of these ideas. Engaged responses from Stephanie Taylor, audiences at Association of American Geographers conferences, and my students in advanced seminars helped me clarify aspects of this work. I must also thank Peter Brooker, Mary Gluck, Jon Hegglund, and Andrew Thacker for encouraging this project in conference panels of the Modernist Studies Association. Southwest Texas State University provided two research enhancement grants that supported the writing and illustration of this work, for which I offer grateful acknowledgment. To Paul Starrs and the journal's anonymous reviewers I send special thanks for their thoughtful comments and suggestions.

Abstract

ABSTRACT. Modern artist Marcel Duchamp's concept of the readymade remains influential though controversial. I propose a new interpretation of the readymades as a coherent series of works that re-create the landscape of Paris in the artist's New York City studio. Using techniques that parallel the conceptual and visual transformations of space performed by cartography and by landscape painting, Duchamp created a personal, monumental, and three-dimensional “map” by replacing Parisian monuments with small-scale objects. The readymades thus expand on the quest of modern artists for innovative ways to represent landscape and, at the same time, offer geographers new ways of seeing landscape.

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