The Legacy of Marcel Duchamp

A participant in some 25 exhibits in Europe, Africa, and elsewhere, artist Marc Latamie has also given guest lectures on prominent artists. Of special interest to Marc Latamie is the French artist Marcel Duchamp, born in 1887.

Duchamp was born into a family of painters. Under their influence, he was producing art by age 15. At 17, he joined his two older brothers at an art school in Paris. His early cartoons showed his interest in verbal and visual puns.

The ideas he developed have greatly influenced Western art. For instance, he placed ordinary objects, such as bottle racks and bicycle wheels, into artistic settings, thus giving them new meanings and associations. This process altered perceptions of what constituted genuine art. His insistence on using ideas to inspire art had a great influence on conceptual art, for both creator and viewer.

Although considered to be the founder of conceptualism, Duchamp refused to ally himself with any particular movement. He was considered a surrealist for his interest in sexuality, as well as a Dadaist for copying the Mona Lisa and adding a beard and mustache. Because of the controversial nature of some of his work, he did not have a retrospective show until five years before his death in 1968.

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