How Duchamp’s Hand Grenade Exploded

Marcel Duchamp

Dawn Ades, Neil Cox & David Hopkins

Thames & Hudson

The book’s controversial subject is typified by the cover, a photograph by Man Ray of Duchamp dressed in drag as his alter ego, the French-American painter Rrose Selavy (the name reads as the phonic equivalent of ‘éros, c’est la vie’, or ‘physical love is life’). Marcel Duchamp threw a hand grenade into the early 20th century art world with his view of art as a ‘concept’ rather than a ‘product’ and by insisting that all kinds of existing objects, or ‘readymades’ – a bicycle wheel, a hat rack, a urinal – could be considered art.

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