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CV of Provocation 0

By Marta Pallo

A retrospective exhibit devoted to French artist Marcel Duchamp will be on view at the Malmö Museum of Modern Art through September 11. Duchamp was a provocative artist and a passionate chess player. But what else is revealed by his curriculum vitae?

  • Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) was born to an intelligent bourgeois family and grew up among six brothers and sisters, of whom three later became artists—Jacques Villon, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, and Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti.
  • Duchamp studied art at the Académie Julian (1904–1905), where drawing was taught according to strict academic principles. Later, the artist earned extra money by drawing vignettes and caricatures in the turn-of-the-century humorist spirit for the magazines Courrier francais and Reire. He also worked at a library.
  • In 1913, Duchamp creates the first of his “readymades,” The Bicycle Wheel
  • At an open exhibit of the Society of Independent Artists in New York in 1917, Duchamp displayed a urinal and called it Fountain. He paid the six-dollar entry fee for the chance to participate in the exhibit. This work became the most scandalous conceptual art object in history.
  • Though Duchamp didn’t create many works of art, he is considered one of the most important figures in twentieth-century art, thanks to the power of his originality and the productivity of his ideas.
  • Duchamp’s reputation grew in the 1960s in the context of post-modernism. He became a guru of the era and a legend within his own lifetime.
  • In 1964, after realizing that the majority of his readymade hadn’t been preserved, Duchamp made replicas of the works, creating a unique, mobile personal museum called Box in a Valise. These replicas will be on display at the Malmö Museum of Modern Art in Sweden through September 11.