Duchamp has ratings and 19 reviews. Frank said: No book in a long while has made me think as deeply about art as has Calvin Tomkins’ excellent biogra. This revised edition of Calvin Tomkins’s Duchamp: A Biography arrives on the artist from the Time-Life Library of Art; The World of Marcel Duchamp appeared. Nearly everything about L.A. appealed to Ruscha. He wanted to live there, and he knew that the only thing he could be was an artist. By Calvin Tomkins.

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Duchamp gave the freedom for this situation to become widespread, but the interesting thing is that hardly anybody imitates Duchamp.

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Talking Marcel Duchamp With Calvin Tomkins

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Joshua Disneyq rated it really liked it Jun 28, I’m taking a class on Duchamp right now and this effortlessly readable biography has been such a fun companion to the more theoretical things I’ve been assigned. Although he was sociable and a leader in the Village art scene for decades, Duchamp always kept himself a bit aloof and didn’t reveal all that much about his thinking or his personal life.


The Art World of the s [] that I wanted to ask you about. Calvin Tomkins is simply a great writer.

Magali Reus

Tomkins was a reporter for the New Yorker. That makes it much easier in some ways and much more difficult in other ways. The whole thing is contradictory, because Duchamp warned against the increasing commercialisation of art, and his prophecies have been borne out way beyond anything he could have imagined. It was just too exquisite, in a way.

Contemporary art, particularly, was considered a ridiculous and foolish aberration. And as a result, slow work is considered bad: I looked at several other books about Duchamp before tomkis this one. The intention was to see some other side of it that might even be contrary to whatever importance or design it makes.

Calvin Tomkins has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since Duchamp’s constant refusal to see art as “retinal” and his insistence that any object made by anyone could be a work of art, made him a leading figure of movements as diverse as Surrealism and Pop. I found myself sharing anecdotes and tidbits with friends nearly every day.

Mar 05, Maria Gambale rated it really liked it.

Talking Marcel Duchamp With Calvin Tomkins – WWD

There was no critic. Oct 27, Liisa rated it it was amazing Shelves: Forty-four years after their first conversation, Tomkins said what still stands out about Duchamp was his complicated nature.


Dec 15, Megan Kirschenbaum rated it really liked it. I can imagine Duchamp thinking this. What I can say is that as someone who had a slim but strong appreciation for Duchamp’s work and knew almost nothing of his life and personality, I found this book to be readable, interesting, and insightful.

Solid biography except for some minor New-Yorker-magazine-edited-by-Tina-Brown type gossip intrusions clavin the text.

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The change has been so enormous. Tompkins provided exactly what I wanted: I didn’t expect a deep artistic analysis and I got in spades what I expected – a bit of insight into the thinking of Duchamp and the human being he was.

An artist can go in any direction. Tomkins states he isn’t going to speculate about Duchamp’s interior life, and he sticks to his word. I thought we might start where it all started for you: I suppose you could say that Duchamp’s real work of art was his life, and while Fuchamp himself remains elusive, the portraits of Picabia, Jarry, Wood, Arensburg, etc are fascinating.