“Dada tried to destroy, not so much art, as the idea one had of art, breaking down its rigid borders, lowering its imaginary heights – subjecting them to a dependence on man, to his power – humbling art, significantly making it take its place and subordinating its value to pure movement which is also the movement of life.”
The catalog is "a Dada gesture to cancel the 'seriousness' of exhibition catalogues." — Marcel Duchamp
DUCHAMP'S FAMOUS "CATALOG" FOR THE CELEBRATED 1953 DADA RETROSPECTIVE.
“Duchamp planned, organized, and installed a major historical show of international Dada at the Janis Gallery in 1953. More than two hundred works of art and documents were on view, each one identified in a Duchamp-designed ‘catalog’ that was itself pure Dada – a tissue-thin broadsheet with written texts (by Jean Arp, Richard Huelsenbeck, Jacques-Henri Lévesque, and Tristan Tzara) in contrasting typefaces, set in narrow columns that ran diagonally down the page. When the sheets were delivered to the gallery, Duchamp took one, crumpled it up into a ball, and told Janis to mail it as it was, and Janis did so, to the confusion of numerous art lovers who wondered why they were being mailed trash. (A wicker basket of crumpled catalogs stood beside the gallery door at the opening.)
“Duchamp was represented in Janis’s Dada show by four works: Tu m’, his last painting on canvas; To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour, the glass study he had done in Argentina; the ready-made Fresh Widow; and Janis’s replica of Fountain, installed over the door at the entrance, with a sprig of mistletoe dangling from its inverted bowl.” (Calvin Tomkins, Duchamp: A Biography, 378-9).
With text by Hans Arp, Richard Huelsenbeck, Jacques-Henry Lévesque, Tristan Tzara; Arp's and Tzara's texts were translated by Duchamp. Ref. Schwarz 543.
New York: Sidney Janis Gallery, 1953. Single sheet of paper, 25x38 inches (96.5x63.5 cm). Since the sheet was originally crumpled into a ball, there are many creases and a few internal tears; extreme top left with border torn away. Now folded and housed in custom cloth box and chemise.
AN ESSENTIAL PIECE OF DADA HISTORY.
Price: $6,500 .