3 New York Dadas and the Blind Man – Marcel Duchamp, Henri-Pierre Roché, Beatrice Wood

Beatrice Wood, Henri-Pierre Roché, Marcel Duchamp

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  • Atlas Press
  • 2013
  • ISBN 9781900565439
  • 176 pages
  • Hardcover
  • 23.2 × 17.6 × 1.6 cm

The story of the triangular relationship between Marcel Duchamp, Henri-Pierre Roché and Beatrice Wood in New York in 1917.

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.

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