The show opened four months later, and, just as Kuhn expected, New Yorkers were scandalized. What he and his fellow organizers didn't foresee was the focal point of outrage at the Armory Show, which was neither Cezanne nor Gauguin, nor was it Pablo Picasso. Of the fourteen hundred artworks in the 30, square foot drill hall, the one that attracted the majority of attention was a three-by-five foot painting by an obscure Frenchman named Marcel Duchamp. As a new book about the show lavishly documents, the public crowded around the picture, and the media competed to feed the frenzy. The painting — which returns to Manhattan as part of The Armory Show At at the New-York Historical Society — became a synecdoche for both the exhibition and the artist.
The essential Duchamp
Philadelphia Museum of Art - Collections Object : Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)
In response to the intense criticism the painting received, Duchamp subsequently withdrew the painting from the exhibition. Although it made an appearance at the Salon de la Section d'Or in Paris later that year, even the boundary-pushing members of the avant-garde Section d'Or also known as the Groupe de Puteaux that organized the exhibition — and with whom Duchamp was closely associated — snubbed the painting's unusual, serial treatment of a curiously multiplying, kaleidoscopic nude in motion, while casting suspicion on Duchamp for satirizing both the tenets of Cubism and the generic conventions of the nude. A nude should be respected. Nude was born from Duchamp's aggregate of interests, including the fractured forms of Cubism and Futurism's preoccupation with velocity and motion, the genesis of cinema, and philosophies of time and space, including the prospect of a fourth dimension. Although formally trained as a painter and closely associated with the movements of Surrealism, Cubism, Futurism, and Dada, Duchamp was in a league of his own, rigorously subverting and sharply challenging conventional notions pertaining to the sanctity of the art object and the agency of the artist's hand with a radical approach to artmaking and display. As the artist Jasper Johns put it, Duchamp created a space for creating art "where language, thought and vision act on one another.
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Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2
Since the project was getting increasingly expensive, he decided to issue five hand-colored pochoirs of select paintings that would be included in the valise. In the end, he produced only two: one of his famous Nu descendant un escallier [Nude Descending a Staircase No. A pochoir is a hand-colored reproduction made by means of stencils pochoir in French , which Duchamp thought produced a more accurate visual image than color photography. The differences that exist between an original and its copy are not only concerns that affect the world of art, but they are matters of critical importance within the legal profession. Duchamp was keenly aware of this fact, for his father had worked as a notary, serving for many years in the town where the artist was born and raised, Blainville-Crevon not far from the city of Rouen in Normandy.
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