NZZ Art & Literature Saturday, November 20, 1999

Late Greetings from Marcel Duchamp; 
The Readymade Under Inspection 
by Thomas Zaunschirm 
excerpt translated by Thomas Girst 


Rhonda Roland Shearer and her husband Stephen Jay Gould, one of the most influential historians of science in the USA, invited forty scholars to attend the symposium at Harvard University. Forty lectures and short contributions, which were dedicated to "The Methods of Understanding in Art and Science: The Case of Duchamp and Poincaré" were presented. The starting point for the meeting was the research of Shearer, which caused a storm of attention in periodicals ranging from the New York Times to The Sciences, Artnews and Art, to Kunstzeitung.

[...] The real discussions took place at the dinner banquets. Everyone was put in good spirits by the craft work of the Speaker Boxes and the prizes of replicated Duchamp editions given as gifts. The atmosphere was relaxed and everyone was convinced that Duchamp would have enjoyed the occasion. Once again, just like in his lifetime, the examination of his work was made possible by donors.


[...] Duchamp's oeuvre asks for more precise art historical methods. This means that art historians will have to take seriously the appearance of his works which is by no means arbitrary. CONTINUED>>