Comments on: Seeing Duchamp as Sculpture http://abstractcritical.com/note/seeing-duchamp-as-sculpture/ Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Holly http://abstractcritical.com/note/seeing-duchamp-as-sculpture/#comment-96338 Tue, 29 Jan 2013 19:57:26 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=6240#comment-96338 if you get this comment today a reply will be much appreciated. I cannot seem to find the book you are referencing too, perhaps you could give a link to it?

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By: Sam http://abstractcritical.com/note/seeing-duchamp-as-sculpture/#comment-70317 Fri, 14 Dec 2012 07:42:10 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=6240#comment-70317 I suppose what I’m most interested in is whether Tucker’s reading is absurd, wrong etc. ?

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By: glyn thomposn http://abstractcritical.com/note/seeing-duchamp-as-sculpture/#comment-70100 Thu, 13 Dec 2012 14:34:36 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=6240#comment-70100 Hi Sam, and thanks for that. To take the second part first, I guess I was speculating as to whether Tucker was responding to a climate in which a distancing from Hamilton’s assumed authority had developed as Duchamp’s legacy became increasingly contested after the Tate retrospective in 1966 (which I am venerable enough to have visited, as student)-Hamilton being a Duchamp insider, a member of the lect privileged to burnish the halo of the Saint Marcel of the popular imagination, etc, provoking an inevitable reaction. Perhaps there is anecdotal evidence of the politics of the period reported somewhere (or has the ‘living archive’ passed on to that great artschool in the sky?) Provincials such as myself were oblivious to any shenanigans in the hothouse of the London artworld at the time,and only learnt second or third hand much later.( Iam of coiurse happy to note that the words ‘metaphysical’ and ‘sacral’ were no mine, but Kenedy’s, whose antagonism towards Hamilton is evident throughout the essay)
And to take the first part second, the ‘conversion’ appeared to be so rapid that I presumed either that some unforseen personal or social convulsion had provoked it; a Caro provoked change of guard at St Martins, etc, perhaps; or that its origins had a deep, but at the time invisible, cause.

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By: Sam http://abstractcritical.com/note/seeing-duchamp-as-sculpture/#comment-70022 Thu, 13 Dec 2012 07:46:48 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=6240#comment-70022 Hi Glyn, Thanks for that…

Firstly, the art history: I think the Damascene conversion may have been slightly more drawn out than the publication date of the Language of Sculpture suggests. Though annoyingly the bibliography in the monograph on Tucker doesn’t list the precise date, a note at the beginning of the Lang of Sculp states that some of the chapters, including the on on ‘Object’, were published in Studio International from Oct 1972. The ‘conversion’ also fits in with the move in Tucker’s work away from blankness (indifference), control, restraint etc of his work of the sixties and early seventies,toward the more emotive, messy and vaguely-symbolic work that develops in the mid-seventies and results in his turd like sculptures of the 80s onwards.

Secondly, and more importantly, though I don’t know about Hamilton, I’m not sure that words such as ‘metaphysical’, ‘sacral requirements’ ‘sheer genius’ fit Tucker’s original statement. Or if you think they do, could you explain how they do? Of course Tucker’s understanding of Duchamp may be absurd or wrongheaded, but isn’t being wrong a prerogative of the artist, as opposed to the academic? By which I mean that artists can – and frequently have – put things to uses for which they were not intended; for Tucker, Duchamp opened a way to bring certain qualities found in industrial objects into the realm and protocols of sculpture, something which, at least in the early 70s, he saw as justification for the work he had been involved in since the early 60s. In which blankness was certainly an aesthetic quality.

Or are we stuck with Duchamp’s intentions? (I’m vaguely aware that maybe a false opposition…)

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By: glyn thomposn http://abstractcritical.com/note/seeing-duchamp-as-sculpture/#comment-69853 Wed, 12 Dec 2012 16:18:38 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=note&p=6240#comment-69853 Tucker’s eulogy of Duchamp is all the more remarkable given his complete reversal of opinion within twelve months: see What Sculpture Is, Pt 4. Studio International Jan/Feb 1975 – and I quote (p. 18): ” The ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp, which inaugurated the reduction of sculpture to mere objects of mass production, can be compared with the work of his friend and contemporary Brancusi, to illustrate the clear distinction within sculpture between object ang thing…… – the Bottle Rack, for example, betrays its nature not by its form, or its material, or its size, in specific: but by the combination of these elements which completely divests it of physical presence. Now that the impact of surprise has been eroded by fifty years of art history, the object is revealed for what it is – wholly commonplace, completely lacking in uniqeness that is the essence of the individual thing.”

So why the damascene conversion ?; perhaps Tucker head read the following,from R C Kenedy’s ‘Wortgebilder Durch Spiel Und Kombinatorik’ in Art International, October 1974, which reads: ” Unfortunatley Richard Hamilton’s very comprehensive notes in the Tate Gallery catalogue were not meant to probe intellectual implications. They were designed to evidence the rather academic presence of aesthetic values in works meant to deny them. Hamilton tends to think that ‘indifference provides a beauty unintended by Duchamp. His search for an object without aesthetic merit, one with the least virtue that he could find to allege that his conviction that that taste is the enemy of art, has proved futile. For the Duchamp personality, his essential artistic gebius, has defeated him.’ This, of course, is criticism of the metaphysical kind which ignores every tangible and demosntrable quality of the work itself in ordet to entrench its claims behind the unassailable concet of sheer genius. Even journalists are expected to do better than that but the exhorcising bent of his argument is not surprising in a man of Hamiton’s outlook; he is an image maker in the grand tradition and his sympathies are utterly heritage committed. He is certainly ill-equipped to show intellective sympathies with Duchamp’s ‘enigma’…He has tried to discover in Duchamp’s Readymades ‘a halloed aspect that welds them into a vision of implausible unity’ and the sacral requirements of Hamilton’s ideals kept him from recognising a unity which was neither implausible , nor indeed related to the faculty of vision.”

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