Marcel Duchamp, or The "Phynancier" of Modern Life Author(s): Thierry de Duve and Rosalind Krauss Source: October, Vol

. 52 (Spring, 1990), pp. 60-75 Published by: The MIT Press Stable URL: Accessed: 02/06/2009 14:56
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And in the whole of it there is no one -with the exception of could have cared less. Never Matisse.Marcel Duchamp. and thus that they had never been utopias. he bought a real bottle rack from a department store and simply waited for time to make it into art and for viewers to give it a price. a faculty that is alienated at present but which defines or will define humanity in its generic essence. or The Last of the Proletarians. and never did he have to regret that art had reneged on its promises." he stopped talking and let others put a value on his silence." something that didn't prevent him from quietly. Long before Joseph Beuys declared that "the silence of Marcel Duchamp is overrated.or herself. 1990. 48 (Spring 1989). Andy Warhol. Art-Edition. Yves Klein. postulates. "Andy Warhol. whom Duchamp greatly admired-who did Duchamp believe that art had it in its power to promise a better. these are nothing but Ideas. tongue-incheek. Duchamp cruelly projected the idea of "establish[ing] a society in which the individual has to pay for the air he breathes. or The Dead Dealer. Beuys was right. And nothing proves that it is. juster. This is the fourth section of a four-part study of Joseph Beuys. Villeurbanne. or The Phynancier of Modern Life THIERRY TRANSLATED DE DUVE BY ROSALIND KRAUSS In the whole of the twentieth century there is no less utopian an artist than Marcel Duchamp. . just that everyone be an artist and liberating that everyone will some day become one. breathing. He had understood that all the utopias of modernity had already been realized." no. Nothing says that everyone has a productive faculty within him. and "Yves Klein. 43 (Summer 1988). and Marcel Duchamp. But does that guarantee that "creativity" and "use-value" even exist?' No one knows." no. in principle. or happier society. 49 (Summer 1989)." no. Octoberhas published the first three parts: "Joseph Beuys. Long before Andy Warhol went shopping and stacked up fake boxes of Brillo. And nothing proves that it is just and liberating that they do 1. Nothing says that humans must work in order to satisfy their needs and must graft their presently reified relations onto this speciesdetermined horizon. Long before Yves Klein began selling wind. it's true that everyone is a potential artist. continuing to go through life. or The Machine Perfected. titled Cousus defil d'or (Sewnwith Golden Thread).

(Photo:Alex Brunelle.Marcel Duchamp. Box in a Valise. 1941.) .

. Translator's note: les arrhes (a plural noun). Nothing is proved. in advance. There's nothing left to say. And it is as if he had watched Warhol's success and had understood that the spleen of the commodity was the condition for any object whatever to be called art and that the disappearance of aesthetic value into exchange-value was the condition for such an object to have a price. complete."2 as Duchamp practices it. accomplished. Warhol was also right. is to art as practiced by the modernists who believe in utopias what King Ubu's oath. But when everyone can be an artist for the simple reason of free access to the marketplace where what is reified 2. It is as if he had. skeptic. then. then all consumers are potential art lovers. It only shows that Yves Klein was wrong and that it was unjust for the artist to claim to own the means of artistic production and to restrict artistic consumption to the buyer. and it doesn't promise that the tradition called art will survive its absorption by commodification. the congruence of the aesthetic field with that of political economy had been perfect. Alienation and reification are wrongs to be righted only on the grounds of these postulates. It's what the success of his readymades had taught him." There are hundreds of ways to read that formula. when we know with what grains of irony the Salt Seller (marchand du sel) seasoned the formula through which he "defined" art: Arrhe est a art ce que merdre est a merde (Arrhe is to art as shitte is to shit). is to the substance about which everyone knows that its retention constitutes the "anal-sadistic" personality of all the capitalist misers of the world. it is true that art is a business and the work of art a commodity. It is as if he had watched Beuys play the pere Ubu of creativity and had understood that at the moment when the artist-proletarian saw himself brought home to a Bohemia as unreal as Jarry's Poland.62 OCTOBER so. Etant donne this lesson. is homophonic with art in French. one of which is: "arrhe." or rather to have been one. which means a deposit or down payment. But that doesn't prove that they will consume well. merdre (which is also the first word of Ubu roi). But does that mean that creativity and use-value don't exist and that one must cynically accept art's absorption into exchange-value? After all Warhol had his utopia as well: if all artists are machines and produce no exchange-value. only one question remained: how to make art out of that? The reference to Jarry is anything but accidental." This is what his own wishful thinking had taught him. and it is not art but the very congruence of art with economy that the formula analyzes by means of "algebraic comparison. and it is as if Duchamp. took off from these observations. observed Yves Klein struggling with his wishful thinking and had understood that in fact "to be a painter. was the preliminary condition to "being an artist. The grain of salt that would allow this substance to be taken for a secretion of an artist's creativity is gross indeed. One can cause and suffer wrongs without their supporting postulates being proved.

he submits his entry under a pseudonym.) And since on this market the artist is a proletarian who alienates his own labor power (Beuys's version) or a machine from which things come that. Etant donne. in April 1917. Mutt. why not kill two birds with one stone and make one's body into "a transformer designed to utilize the slight.labor and commerce. even though without value." was open on principle to everyone: the membership card cost a dollar. then. or The Phynancier of Modern Life 63 on the one hand is the very thing that is sublimated on the other. the fall of urine and excrement"? Provided the artist knows how to exploit the unexpected . and on the additional condition of showing the year of his joining up. L. an editorial called "The Richard Mutt Case. like an artisan. then. he bought it from its manufacturer. whose motto was "no jury." which. this little nobody who is simultaneously a small-time capitalist in an enterprise licensed to deal in art (the exhibited works were for sale) and an independent artisan otherwise invited to display his know-how. Duchamp keeps quiet. Duchamp didn't make the Fountain with his own hands. in a certain sense. It's up to the worker or the machine to supply the waterfall. On the stockholders' side. Mutt submits a urinal titled Fountain to the hanging committee (of which Duchamp was president) of the newly created Society of Independent Artists. taking up the defense of Mr. no prizes. . giving up this double privilege and making like the little nobody. the political-economic field -how to make arrhe out of that? In New York. The Society. and at the close of the show publishes an unsigned editorial in his little satirical review. these two conditions . The urinal is refused. and up to the dealer to pay the bill for the illuminating gas. five. and humor the most efficient of dealers. he was recognized for his talent as a painter. he was one of the twenty founding members and president of the hanging committee to boot. The Blind Man. the J. being the creator of the highly celebrated Nude Descending a Staircase. reveals his first name.Marcel Duchamp. Marcel Duchamp shared this double status with the thousand or so self-proclaimed artists who participated in the 1917 exhibition. (Manzoni didn't miss the opportunity to remind the all too sublime Yves Klein of this. wasted energies such as: . . the little nobody became. on the whole. Incorporated. all American artists exposed to the ostracism of the National Academy hoped to receive dividends. waits for the storm to pass. Behold. it's better to take care of that oneself. the odds are heavy that a large part of what gets traded there is in the nature of the substance in question. a stockholder of the Societe Anonyme (the name would be used by Duchamp in 1920 for the collection he created with Katherine Dreier) from which. Laziness is the best of foremen and the most fertile of inventors. with the qualification that he played on one side as on the other an ascendant role. Mott Iron Works.and least prodigal resources of his labor power. have a price (Warhol's). a so-called R. on the artisans' side. The name Mutt . the annual dues. Yet. For this modest sum. Besides. he will always find himself some businessman or other able to turn a profit from the few quanta of wertbildendeSubstanz nevertheless spent.

that he counts on reselling the object at a profit. It is as if the latter had placed an order with the former. author of Nude Descending a Staircase) with painting The Waterfall. but I sell for the sake of selling and not for them to relieve themselves." He couldn't have been more explicit. had gone to supply himself at J. his Fountain under his arm. 1917.) tI signals this provenance with little disguise." Mott has the item in stock. Mott's. On the one side there is the manufacturer. just as lazy an administrator as .Get it? The opposite of poverty. had charged Mutt (alias Duchamp. and takes it to Richard and his hanging committee. (Photo: AlfredStieglitz.64 OCTOBER MarcelDuchamp. and the latter. too lazy or too busy with lighting the entries of his co-stockholders with illuminating gas. or rather. Mutt or Mott. as if Richard (alias Duchamp. quite candidly. who stands in for the artisan. even adding. Fountain. the capitalist." Duchamp said. "Well that's a peculiar use for a urinal. whose advertisements ran: "Among our articles of lazy hardware we recommend a faucet which stops dripping when nobody is listening to it. L. Whereupon Mutt goes away. "And I added Richard. Mine is to sell things that help men do number one. as the signature acknowledges the double status of the nobody who proclaims himself an artist in becoming a member of the Society. "but it's none of my business. president of the hanging committee). "That's not a bad name for a pissotiere. and on the other Richard." And the deal is struck. Mutt hands over the deposit while promising to pay the rest as soon as possible." Mott mutters under his breath. Richard. hardly less sluggish. the stockholder.

he leaves the room "holding the new acquisition as though it were a marble Aphrodite. urinal. He had his reply to the speculation he had jotted down as early as 1913: "Can one make works which are not works of 'art'?" The answer was no. Panama Porcelain-lipped model. but its place is not an art exhibition and it is. "Fill in the amount yourselves." Mutt goes back to Mott's and pays the balance. is absent. Mutt is a painter. a friend of the first (in fact his name was Walter C. MottIron Works. and asks about the object of the scandal. since speculation there certainly had been. The art that Mutt practices in working as little as possible. "I want to buy it. a work of art. And Duchamp has only to wait. Here's one (certainly false. by no definition.) The follow-up is very confused. His assistants (George Bellows and Rockwell Kent) throw up their arms and exclaim: "The Fountain may be a very useful object in its place. Richard resigns from the Society and never cashes his dividends. hands over a blank check. and the versions of the facts vary. L. art collector)." (That's the text of the press release published by the organizers the day after the opening.1908. Taking it from the top: arrhe is to art what shitte is to shit. but accredited by Duchamp): another Richard comes along. is to the art of those who work and believe in creativity what .Marcel Duchamp. They find the object behind a partition and Arensberg. or The Phynancier of Modern Life 65 TheJ. but in making his down payment (des arrhes) to Mott. saying. flanked by Duchamp and Man Ray." he says without even having seen it. Nobody can tell him anything. big spender." Upon which. Arensberg. Arensberg loses the urinal (if he ever had it).

it is vital that he remain an artisan. adding: "grammatically. in October. to do handiwork. exists only in the plural. who fabricates the Fountain. not even to sculpture. In the Theoriesof Surplus Value (Book IV of Capital) Marx. "to grind his chocolate himself"? Is it to say that he must resist the division of labor to the point of taking everything into his own hands. he says. it designates only half of mankind and shows it to be female. The word arrhes. ready-to-wear so to speak. "-one only has: for female the urinal and one lives by it. then: as a name for money it loses its character of general equivalency and signifies the singular advance on a singular payment. Those who made the urinal neither made art nor tried to do so. no more to music or to architecture than to painting. commissioned by Richard to paint a Waterfall. is in the situation of Marx's artisan-tailor. nothing or very little lands on the market between October 1912 and the 1917 Independents where ordinarily the specific work of an artisan-painter is exchanged for general currency. In other words. J. from the grinding of pigments all ." who composes aleatory music and draws plans for his Large Glass but doesn't paint any longer. Duchamp writes it in the singular. he gave up painting and found himself a job on the labor market as librarian "in order to get enough time to paint for myself. L. And when Fountain (feminine. there is no longer either painting or artisanship. he took it. they are the workers whose creativity Mott bought on the labor market. Now. which means deposit. Duchamp has made art. is in the situation of his worker-tailor. -" This is in The 1914 Box. The artist who works for himself. just like Virgin and Bride) makes its appearance. Virgin and Bride are titles of paintings between which. and after which. he has bought a readymade object whose manufacturer." Now." Here's how the word becomes triply specific. in August 1912. The word "readymade" comes from the garment industry. and Mott's worker. and it's important that he remain so if he doesn't want to end up as a pieceworker in the culture industry and mortgage his freedom. for his pleasure or because he feels it a necessity. didn't make either.and the garment industry is one. The artisan-tailor to whom the cloth for a pair of pants is brought and who is paid for his services is an unproductive worker. Duchamp painted The Passagefrom the Virgin to the Bride.66 OCTOBER speculation is to production. Duchamp didn't invent it. or down payment. is an unproductive laborer. to dress up the snow shovel he had just bought from a New York hardware store in 1915. as the homophone for the word art it only refers to painting. of his strange activity as "arrhtist" who "paints for himself. the arrhe of painting is feminine in gender. three years before Fountain. In the same way Mutt.differentiates productive from unproductive labor. while the worker-tailor employed by a merchant-tailor who derives surplus value from his labor is a productive worker. specifically. without its belonging to one of the arts. and not to the arts in general. Mott. Is that to say that he has to paint. as a gendered word. he has done nothing at all. Moreover. who as always liberally supplies himself with examples taken from the industrial avant-garde of his age. what Phynance (asJarry spelled "finance" in Ubu roi) is to political economy.

MarcelDuchamp.and there is no lack of thread and weaving mills in Marx-he is already on the way to small business. Marx attests. The predictable outcome of this contradiction. the social division of labor penetrating his own body. buying his own labor power. In the same passage from Capital. whether or not he knows it. losing his means of production and ending up in the employ of someone else. if he has invested in a sewing machine.00 0000Ed. because he is brought the cloth for the pants and because it's his services that are paid for.Marcel Duchamp. Marx shows what artisanship has become or is in the process of becoming when it survives as an archaism walled off within the surrounding capitalist mode of production. or he fails. . if he has his list of suppliers. Vest for BenjaminPer &!i~!. 1958.:. -et.!!:!~ A ::f::i : 4 t: oW ' 000000000 f. This artisanship is a holdover from precapitalist relations of production. or The Phynancier of Modern Life 67 the way through the vernissage?Marx's artisan-tailor is unproductive because he works to order. is that either the artisan prospers. exploiting his own overtime and pocketing the surplus value thus created. He points out how the small artisan who works on commission sees. whether or not he wants to. He is a capitalist owner of his own means of production who employs himself as wage laborer.0:0000\X:fffff A:H0000S0000Eff ~-i iV00~~~~~~~. . and lives out his own activity in the mode of division because the division of labor and of capital is the dominant mode of social relations. ending up hiring workers and becoming a boss in his turn. But if the artisan has his own cloth samples.

Their situation-and whatever they may do. he has still to make a life out of it. whereas creativity is a myth and the artist-machine a fiction): At the beginning of the story Marcel Duchamp is R. the life of an independent artisan. . Or if they are masochists they will identify with the capitalist. Those who balk at the division will make it a point of honor to slick up their work all the while decrying the decline of tradition (these are the academicians). also.68 OCTOBER But this is not the situation of artists. This has nothing to do with what they make or with the quality of their work. any whether they paint. How to make Phynance out of that? Let's take up once again the fable of la Fontaine (for it's above all a moral tale. Duchamp the employee makes no claim to art and Duchamp the artisan has stopped producing paintings.. Down with tradition. without promising or betraying. against all odds.. in a sort of existential mise-en-abymefor which Duchamp had the knack and through which he registered the division of labor that tears the artisan apart. both of them "big" stockholders in the Society (both founding members) and both collectors (Richard is . Down with the artisan-painter whose Nude Descending a Staircase and even more The Passage of the Virgin to the Bride had shown his talent." he divides up the productive and unproductive laborers within himself. is to live one's life as an artist in the mode of division. It means pushing away the pain of the artisan who suffers from having to exploit himself if he wants to survive.) When Duchamp gives up painting in 1912 and becomes a wageworker at the Ste." in the singular and the feminine. But all of that is beside the point. or when it is. R. . GeneviweveLibrary "in order to paint for myself." (This is in The 1914 Box. And if they are really clever they will take their stakes out of the game by making themselves into a machine (as with Warhol). and will look for the reconciliation outside. Those who find it intolerable to be divided will identify with the proletarian in themselves without seeing that the capitalist is to be found there as well. and out of this life to make his oeuvre. for example in "social sculpture" (as with Beuys). compose. And up with "the arrhe of painting. and from having to abandon the traditional gestures of his craft to the benefit of makeshifts consuming less labor time. without seeing that they exploit the proletarian in themselves (as with Klein). . Up to that point it's nothing but a lifestyle. Registered: Mott's worker stakes no claim to art and Mutt the artisan no longer paints. Richard is like Arensberg. from having to mess up the job to the point of losing the pleasure and pride he gets from his work. . or are content to put the air they breathe in vials or to can other secretions of their labor power -is to lead. To lead the life of an artisan without suffering or pleasure. but this we won't know until the end. separating him from himself: "Given that. Richard and Mutt. It has hardly more to do with their suffering or their pleasure. down with the nostalgic clinging to an outmoded craft pursued under hostile conditions. Mutt is like the little nobody who proclaims himself an artist in taking out his membership in the Society. we stop talking of art in ambitious sense of the word. if I suppose I'm suffering a lot .. he divides himself into a stockholder and an artisan. Mutt. write.

which by nature are neither more nor less artistic than the brushes and tubes of paint are for a painter. or Comb. dialectical materialism claims that a just practice proves a theory correct and viceversa. everyone is an artist. Translator's note: Duchamp's readymade Peigne. he rendered to everyone what belonged to Duchamp. need we add. the wish to proclaim oneself an artist is only a wish. Yes. which is neither more nor less justly defined by the technical specificity of the division of labor ("the bachelor grinds his chocolate himself") than by its social generality ("separation is an operation"). no. Mott. and subcontracts. what did he pocket? 3.e. the proletarians are alienated. Mutt envies Mott and fears for his trade. which is neither more nor less entitled to take the place that talent had in classical aesthetics than the Independents have the right to call themselves artists through wishful thinking. he withdraws his savings. yet never could he extract such surplus value out of them. a merchant. On Sundays he paints "for himself. who has got wind of the affair. alternately buyer and seller: Mott buys labor power and sells "items of lazy hardware. yes. And homophonic with the subjunctive of peindre. His workers have also got wind of the affair and among them there is one who chuckles. as well: to Beuys the myth of creativity. to Klein the emptiness of exchange-value and. he exploits his workers. Feeling that he will soon have nothing but his creativity to sell. artists don't work. Thus does Duchamp render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's: to Mott his means of production. or The Phynancier of Modern Life 69 president of the hanging committee and future founder of the Societe Anonyme). Mutt is like Mott.00 he took out his membership in the Independents. stakes his all." and for the modest sum of $6.Marcel Duchamp. But Duchamp renders. . and to the modern artists their resistance to the destruction of their craft.3 but his Chocolate Grinder is already mortgaged and he is no longer anything but its nominal owner (says Marx). As artisan Mutt suffers from his person's being divided into an exploited worker and a merchant who pockets surplus value. His name? R. and in showing it. When the congruence between the aesthetic field and the field of political economy is perfect. to Mott's workers their labor power.. i. he understands nothing of Phynance. Mutt is once again like Mott. muttering that even if he knows something about production." amongst which is a "faucet" that Mutt buys. there is nothing left by to make this visible. the relations of production are reified. their creativity. to Warhol the fiction of the machine. He gets after his workers with a prod. It was up to Duchamp to show this congruence. artisan-painter or small industrialist. Yes. As industrialist Mott doesn't suffer. Mutt. yes. He shakes his head. yes. just can't believe it. but that proves nothing. to Marx what belongs to Marx. to paint. For a year now he hasn't stopped telling himself that he should paint (qu'il peigne). At the end of the story Mutt has sold the "faucet" under a new label to Arensberg for a price virtually without a ceiling.

It was at Stieglitz's to be photographed and the real Duchamp.drips at the expense of those listening. Fables are worth what they're worth and this one isn't even supported. Speculation had already taken place. but at least we know that it wasn't like this. had certainly decided to draw interest on his investment. The urinal wasn't behind a partition and Arensberg didn't buy it. Duchamp. and for the pleasure of those art historians forced to speculate on what really happened with this "faucet which that right. in any case. stops dripping when nobody is listening to it" but which-isn't Marcel?. Should the mapping of the two on one another erase their difference in kind. .70 OCTOBER MarcelDuchamp. the check was fabulous in more senses than one. The question is one of knowing to what extent we are speaking through "algebraic comparison" and to what extent the arrhe of phynance has been superimposed on the art of finance. not even to take out the right to speculate on what he'd just made. and the profits went up in smoke. The fable isn't over. We don't know how things really happened. And when it would occur again it would be for the benefit of Sidney Janis and Arturo Schwarz (who made replicas of Fountain). Tzanck Check. Who cashed Arensberg's blank check? Apparently no one. 1919. then Duchamp would be nothing but an opportunist. wanted to cash nothing. less altruistic than the character in the fable.

Duchamp obviously knows as well as Tzanck what he is proposing for payment. already expressed in money. many his own. he cloaks with English the fact that the name of the bank articulates exactly the nature of the exchange and of the complicity that forms between the two men: "I loan you my teeth. During these twenty years Duchamp breathed. apparently. Like the owner of the restaurant where Paul Klee ate for years in exchange for his paintings. played chess. in works of art. Thus we must find the counter-proof to Arensberg's fabulous blank check. doesn't Duchamp suggest to him that a bank exists where the Tzanck Checkis redeemable? It's the one on which it's drawn." For twenty years the check stayed in the dentist's collection. after all. and pays for his care with a fictive check. which lists its legal address as 2 Wall Street. Fables. and. New York. In December 1919. Indeed. Duchamp goes to his dentist.00 to send it to you. Perhaps Tzanck had not been faithful enough to him (he only owned one other work by him and as chance would have it an investment of the same type. Daniel Tzanck. In 1940 he tried to interest Arensberg in the Tzanck Check-drawn up in 1919 for $115. who is also a collector and very active in Parisian avant-garde circles. Tzanck. which he barters against a Dada Drawing (as Picabia called it) not redeemable at the bank. Here we can savor Duchamp's marvelous humor. and in return you give me your trust. took part in a surrealist exhibition here and there. performed as a broker. The war was approaching and the moment came to pack his (boite en) valise." So much for finance: quite a shark. the Monte Carlo Bond). Duchamp then approached Daniel Tzanck and bought the check back "for a lot more than it says it's worth. In accepting it the dentist renounces being paid and it is not exactly his services that he exchanges for money but the price of his services. He sold an impressive number of modern works of art. Arensberg. to various people including Arensberg. wholly drawn by hand. The Teeth'sLoan & Trust Company. The Tzanck Checkcould be one. knows very well what he is accepting for payment. the craftsman who knows what work well done means. and thus will our relations be consolidated. Consolidated. in Paris. In inventing a New York bank (a strange thing since we're in Paris). But as a means of payment the check is worthless. are worth what their moral is worth.00 -even writing him that his dentist "would be delighted to accept $50. this Duchamp. In fact there are two transactions. Like any other dentist Tzanck presents his bill and receives a check in return. discreetly but not apologetically. didn't want the check. and a check is not very gratifying when it comes to aesthetic pleasure. He suspects that if Tzanck -like Klee's restaurant owner no doubt accepts a work of art in payment for his care.Marcel Duchamp. But this particular work of art is a check. his sidekick since the Richard Mutt affair. and it's in the real world that the moral is tested. or The Phynancier of Modern Life 71 cleverer than the others. but also because the collector in him has instinctively recognized the speculative potential of the deal." that is." . this is not only because the art lover in him. he lets himself be paid "in kind. when it was a matter of playing go-between for two of his collectors. has instinctively recognized the fine workmanship of the drawing the artist offers him. to wit.

as from real life: Richard/Arensberg investing in Mutt/Mott.72 OCTOBER So much for phynance:the artist had paid his dentist's bill in full. 1938. right from the beginning. the first (the investing silent partners) bring capital without taking part in the running of the company. One month before making up the Tzanck CheckDuchamp put the letters L.O. but as a check to be guaranteed on trust. But the latter is caught up in still another enterprise: a commanditeis also a typesetters' collective working by the job.) . Arensberg had been the fabulous investor. arrhe (the down payment) required the balance. It was fair for the one who had offered a virtually limitless price for a urinal he had never possessed to assemble his protege's work as completely as possible." This is Duchamp's expression and it brings finance back to phynance. in his composing stick in order to title a somewhat mustachioed reproduction of the Mona Lisa. In Duchamp's limited partnership we once again meet up with all the characters from the fable. (Firstminiature. maquette. And this kind of company is a commercial enterprise formed of two sorts of partners. Now the typesetter needs the Tzanck Checkto have it reproduced for the Boite en valise. The moral of a fable isn't dissipated within the real world.Q.O. A commanditeis an investment in a joint-stock company with liability only for the sum invested. Duchamp investing in Tzanck. He had understood how profitable it MarcelDuchamp. and symmetrically. When he buys the check back from him he is not liable for any possible losses on the dentist's part.H. Fountain. through "symetrie commanditee. the others (those invested) are jointly responsible for all legal debts. it returns to the fable.

he pasted all the press clippings about the exhibition he could gather. echoed-through by the "shaved" Mona Lisa which served as the invitation to the opening.H. for Duchamp. gold coins money on the "Arensberg Bank. having in the meantime traveled from Duchamp's wallet to those of Patricia Matta. 1938. the fiat money backed up by it. miniature edition.O.Q. dear reader.) . 1904symetriecommanditee1964). and finally Mary Sisler. He Arensberg." or on the "Mary Sisler Bank" . For most liquid possible-of in the the short he runs off reproductions of the works that his most faithful collectors have accumulated the way others write checks on their bank accounts. with a paper clip. The event took place during the exhibition of Mary Sisler's collection at Cordier & Ekstrom (Not Seen and/ or Less Seen ofl byMarcel DuchampIRrose Selavy. in any case the fact remains that he made the catalogue into an album into which. The TzanckCheckwas there as well.Marcel Duchamp. Included there was L. without covering over the photographs.O. Arne Ekstrom. And this. It's a certain Phillip Bruno who in 1965 cashed Arensberg's fabulous check. or The Phynancier of Modern Life 73 would be to keep his complete works to himself in the form -the lightest and a portable museum composed of reproductions. he whimsically attached a check blank to the page where the reproduction of Tzanck Check appeared. Fountain. He wished to obtain a Duchamp autograph and. is how all the symetriescommanditeeswill be fulfilled and how that which belongs to Caesar will be rendered unto Caesar. The story doesn't tell if Phillip Bruno collected anything besides reproductions. opposite the mustachioed Mona Lisa. (Fromsecond MarcelDuchamp.

he presented Duchamp with the book opened to the page in question." He discovered for himself that he had breathed enough. . 1968. to the cut-up Georges Hugnet the mustaches and to Marcel Duchamp the razor blades that have "cuttage" in reserve. He could recall that his only utopia had been to "establish a society in which the individual has to pay for the air he breathes" and leave to his creditors the bother of "cutting off the air in case of non-payment. For the arrhe of painting posterity will pay the balance. awaiting his autograph. it's always the others who die. and the bank (French this time although we're in New York): "Banque Mona Lisa. filling in the amount: "unlimited". Every artist." epitaph on Duchamp's grave in the cemetery of Rouen." The Mona Lisa Bank is the Louvre. right? and anyway.4 4.74 OCTOBER Playing the innocent. Selavy. age took charge of quietly blowing out the candle. belongs to it. Of course Duchamp signed the check for him. On October 2. The Mona Lisa. "D'ailleurs c'est toujours les autres qui meurent. even and above all the enfant terrible of the avant-gardes. to Rrose the enigmatic smile and to Mona the hot pants. They only have the value of that with which he or she repays tradition. with and without mustaches. The artist has put his papers in order and organized his estate: to Leonardo the painting and to the culture industry the right to print it on T-shirts. writes checks on tradition. if it has enough of a sense of humor.

1965. or The Phynancier of Modern Life 75 MarcelDuchamp. Bruno Check. .Marcel Duchamp.

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