Events > Book Launch

08 May 2010

Book launch for Julian Jason Haladyn's Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés

Julian Jason Haladyn
Marcel Duchamp
1 pm - 3 pm

Art Metropole is pleased to launch Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés, Julian Jason Haladyn’s illustrated study of Marcel Duchamp’s final work.

Following Marcel Duchamp’s death in 1968, the Philadelphia Museum of Art stunned the art world by unveiling a project on which he had been working secretly for twenty years, long after he had supposedly given up art for chess. Installed by the museum curators with the assistance of Duchamp’s widow Teeny and stepson Paul Matisse, Étant donnés (known in English as Given, or, literally, “being given”) consists of a small room with a locked wooden door; through a peephole can be seen a landscape of trees, with a naked female figure at the front, her arm outstretched, holding a lamp.

In this illustrated study, Julian Haladyn argues that Duchamp’s intention in this final piece was similar to Raymond Roussel’s in How I Wrote Certain of My Books: not, as many have maintained, to provide a neat summation of his career, but the opposite-to open his artwork (which he had made sure was fully represented in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection) to endless interpretation and reinterpretation. Duchamp’s engagement with his legacy (by orchestrating first the purchase of his work and then the donation of those purchases to the museum) is a significant historical development in the critical relationship between artists and the institution of art-a relationship that would later be further explored by such artists as Andrea Fraser and Michael Asher. Additionally, Haladyn sees that the staging of Étant donnés – especially the way that Duchamp forces viewers to become aware of the act of looking and their bodily presence in the gallery space-foreshadowed strategies used by Minimalism as well as installation, spectatorship, and institutional critique.

Please join us on Saturday May 8th, from 1-3 p.m.

Julian Jason Haladyn is a Canadian writer, artist and curator. He is the author of Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés (Afterall Books 2010), as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. With Miriam Jordan he co-authored The Films and Videos of Jamelie Hassan, a publication accompanying their curated project that is the first to examine Hassan’s use of moving image art forms. Haladyn completed his PhD in Theory and Criticism at The University of Western Ontario in 2012 and is currently a SSHRC postdoctoral Fellow in Art History at the University of Toronto, where he is also teaching courses.

French painter, sculptor and writer. The art and ideas of Duchamp, perhaps more than those of any other 20th-century artist, have served to exemplify the range of possibilities inherent in a more conceptual approach to the art-making process. Not only is his work of historical importance—from his early experiments with Cubism to his association with Dada and Surrealism—but his conception of the ready-made decisively altered our understanding of what constitutes an object of art. Duchamp refused to accept the standards and practices of an established art system, conventions that were considered essential to attain fame and financial success: he refused to repeat himself, to develop a recognizable style or to show his work regularly. It is the more theoretical aspects implicit to both his art and life that have had the most profound impact on artists later in the century, allowing us to identify Duchamp as one of the most influential artists of the modern era.