Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) has entered mainstream culture as one of the founding fathers of modern art. Despite his popularity, books on Duchamp often shroud his work in theoretical and critical writing. Here, instead, is a book exploring the artist’s life and work in a thoroughly new and engaging manner, with short, alphabetical dictionary entries written in lively, jargon-free prose that at last allow Duchamp’s work and influence to be accessible and enjoyable for a wide audience.
The Duchamp Dictionary features the most interesting and important artworks, relationships, people and ideas in Duchamp’s life, from chess, puns, the fourth dimension, love and genius, to the Bicycle Wheel and Fountain, Walter and Louise Arensberg, Peggy Guggenheim, Katherine S. Dreier and Arturo Schwarz. A contextual introduction shows how the dictionary form has been an inspiration to artists and writers from Flaubert to the Surrealists. Underpinned by the latest scholarship and research, Thomas Girst’s texts show how, in the words of contemporary artist Thomas Hirschhorn, Duchamp was ‘the most intelligent mind of his time’.
'It’s about time that a publication reveals the vastness of Duchamp’s influence and thinking in the 20th and 21st centuries. I have absolute praise for Girst’s achievement with this historic publication'
'Girst's The Duchamp Dictionary is exactly the sort of book Duchamp himself would have enjoyed reading. The entries are well researched and written, informative and entertaining. You can't ask for more'
'Girst elegantly unravels the skeins of Duchamp’s thinking. ‘The Duchamp Dictionary’ is an essential compendium for puzzling out an essential artist'
Richard Armstrong, Director Guggenheim Museum and Foundation