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245 × 188 mm
296 pages
295 illustrations
01 Oct 1998

Duchamp Love and Death, even Juan Antonio Ramírez

Marcel Duchamp’s stature in the history of art has grown steadily since the 1950s, as several artistic movements have embraced him as their founding father. But although his influence is comparable only to Picasso’s, Duchamp continues to be relatively unknown outside his narrow circle of followers. This book seeks to explain his oeuvre, which has been shrouded with mystery.

Duchamp’s two great preoccupations were the nature of scientific truth and a feeling for love with its natural limit, death. His works all speak of eroticism in a way that pushes the socially acceptable to its outer limits. Juan Antonio Ramírez addresses such questions as the meaning of the artist’s ground-breaking ready-mades and his famous installation Étant donnés; his passionate essay reproduces all of Duchamp’s important works, in addition to numerous previously unpublished visual sources. Duchamp: Love and Death, even is a seminal monograph for understanding this crucial figure of modern art.

‘This is a book which sets out with a distinctive approach . . . Ramírez’s eccentric pursuit of detail is not for nothing . . . his capricious projections work well in his account of the mechanics of Duchamp’s last work, Etant Donnés.’ – Contemporary Visual Arts Magazine

‘Its strongest and most attractive feature . . . is the identification of the two great works as the two brightest stars of a constellation that hold in their orbit a discrete network of satellite objects and artifacts. All the works discussed in the main text are held in a pattern that determines their orientation towards one or other of the two major works . . . Ramirez gives a great deal of detailed information drawn from sources taken from contemporary advertising. These images contribute a wealth of visual material that purposefully animates the pages of the book while giving the reader a visual key to the material that lies ahead.’ – Leonardo Electronic Almanac

‘Ramirez, in this beautifully produced, almost encyclopedic book, takes each work in turn and gives a history of its creation and a sophisticated reading of its (possible) meaning. Ramirez clearly believes that the misunderstandings surrounding Duchamp’s oeuvre are wilful refusals in comprehending work that has quite clear, if disturbing, import. This is not a beginners’ guide to Duchamp – the book expects more than a passing acquaintance from its readership of the great Dadaist. But fans of Duchamp, or those whose curiosity has been whetted by such good introductions as Dawn Ades’ Marcel Duchamp will find Ramirez’ erudite volume a hugely useful addition to their library.’ – Mark Thwaite

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Juan Antonio Ramírez is Professor of History of Art at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain, and the author of several books on art, architecture and film.