Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Duchamp in Auckland

You’re where? The 1913 postcard is from Marcel Duchamp and reads. “I am not dead:  I am in Herne Bay this month.” This has got to be bigger than the Spanish helmet found at the bottom of Wellington harbour. After all this was the year Duchamp famously attached a bicycle wheel to a four-legged stool. Did he visit the Auckland Art Gallery like Gauguin in 1895? Regrettably, Duchamp goes on to add "(England)", so no.  

Still, for a nano second we could picture the French artist fresh from his scandal with R Mutt’s Fountain the year before strolling through Herne Bay humming to himself and nicking potential readymades from front lawns as he passed by.

Meanwhile, in that other Herne Bay, Duchamp’s visit is being celebrated with a festival including a tribute by a UK cartoonist that will be hung in urinals throughout the town. Maybe MD would have been better off in Auckland after all.