Marcel Duchamp, Henri-Pierre Roché, Beatrice Wood - the story of the triangular relationship between Duchamp, Roché and Wood in New York in 1917. A facsimile follows of the Dada magazine the three produced, The Blind Man, as well as Wood's recollections of these events as taken from her memoirs.


3 New York Dadas and the Blind Man cover image
 Marcel Duchamp, Henri-Pierre Roché, Beatrice Wood, 3 New York Dadas and the Blind Man, Atlas Press, 2013.

The main text here is the first English translation of Roché’s “novel” Victor, an account of his friendship with Duchamp (nicknamed Victor by his close friends at that time). Although unfinished, Roché’s text offers a unique first-hand account of New York Dada, all of whose principal characters and events duly make an appearance: Francis Picabia, Arthur Cravan, the Arensbergs and their soirées, the Blind Man’s Ball and the scandal of Duchamp’s Fountain and its rejection from the Independents exhibition, a pivotal moment in modern art. There are also interesting insights into the sexual politics of the period, when a woman could be arrested, or blackmailed, for spending the night with a man to whom she was not married.
Victor is followed by a complete facsimile of the Dada magazine produced by these three: The Blind Man, the second issue of which was devoted to the controversy surrounding the Fountain. Beatrice Wood’s account of these events is taken from her memoirs.
Marcel Duchamp needs little introduction, being one of the most influential artists of the last century. Roché, a lifelong friend of his, appears to have been something of a devotee of triangular relationships; he wrote a rather more famous autobiographical novel on the topic, Jules et Jim, which became an emblematic film by François Truffaut. Wood went on to become a celebrated ceramicist, dying in 1998, aged 105.
The introduction and commentary is by Dawn Ades, the well-known scholar of Dada and Surrealism.
 
 
 
 
Rarities from 1917:Facsimiles of The Blind Man No.1,
The Blind Man No.2
and Rongwrong
(Marcel Duchamp, Henri-Pierre Roché and Beatrice Wood, eds.)compiled by Thomas Girst (visuals by Andrzej Mika)
A few years after his arrival in the United States, Marcel Duchamp, together with his friends Henri-Pierre Roché and Beatrice Wood, published three small and very short-lived issues of what can only be described as genuine Dada-journals: The Blind Man No.1 (April 1917; Arturo Schwarz, The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, vol. 2, New York: Delano Greenidge, 1997,  # 346), The Blind Man No. 2 (May 1917; # 347) and Rongwrong (July 1917; #348). Of the three, the Blind Man No. 2 is best remembered for publishing documents surrounding the scandal of Duchamp's 1917 urinal Fountain. But the other numbers also hold an abundance of material on the budding, European-infiltrated and subversive New York art scene.
Without further ado, dear reader, please see for yourself! Only once before, in 1970, were print-facsimiles of the three magazines made. Published in a small edition by Arturo Schwarz (Documenti Dada e Surrealisti, Archivi d'Arte del XX Secolo, Rome; editor: Gabriele Mazzotta, Milan) in a brown cardboard folder whose design imitates wood, Dada Americano also includes reprints of Duchamp's and Man Ray's one and only issue of New York Dada (April, 1921) as well as the latter's four-page foldout of the Ridgefield Gazook (No. 0, March 31st, 1915).
The following clickable flip-through visuals of all pages of both issues of the Blind Man as well as Rongwrong are scans from the 1970 Schwarz edition and make their full content available to a large audience for the first time. The original magazines are part of the Vera, Silvia and Arturo Schwarz collection Dada and Surrealist Art at the Israel Museum of Art, Jerusalem.
In recent years, the International Dada Archive of the University of Iowa has started to scan and mount documents from their collection: A number of early Dada magazines may be viewed at http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/dada/collection.htm
(suggested reading: Beatrice Wood, I Shock Myself, San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1985, esp. pp. 26-36; Francis M. Naumann, New York Dada 1915-1923, New York: Abrams, 1994, esp. pp. 46-47, 184-187; Francis M. Naumann, Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Making Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, New York: Abrams (distrib.), 1999, pp. 74-75)
 
 
 
 
 

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