Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) has entered mainstream culture as one of the founding fathers of modern art. Despite his popularity, books on Duchamp often shroud his work in theoretical and critical writing. Here, instead, is a book exploring the artist’s life and work in a thoroughly new and engaging manner, with short, alphabetical dictionary entries written in lively, jargon-free prose that at last allow Duchamp’s work and influence to be accessible and enjoyable for a wide audience.
The Duchamp Dictionary features the most interesting and important artworks, relationships, people and ideas in Duchamp’s life, from chess, puns, the fourth dimension, love and genius, to the Bicycle Wheel and Fountain, Walter and Louise Arensberg, Peggy Guggenheim, Katherine S. Dreier and Arturo Schwarz. A contextual introduction shows how the dictionary form has been an inspiration to artists and writers from Flaubert to the Surrealists. Underpinned by the latest scholarship and research, Thomas Girst’s texts show how, in the words of contemporary artist Thomas Hirschhorn, Duchamp was ‘the most intelligent mind of his time’.