Marcel Duchamp is the king of art's last hundred years, its trickster-saboteur. In 1993 Jennifer Gough-Cooper and Jacques Caumont's 'Ephemerides on and about Marcel Duchamp and Rrose Sélavy 1887-1968' appeared in a Thames and Hudson monograph that's unfortunately quite hard to find now. The Ephemerides is a brilliant work of inframincean research: choice cuts of biography ordered by day, in which a note about chess from 12 July 1924 might sit next to a quote about the Large Glass from 12 July 1936. Reading it, you follow several stories in parallel.
Selections of those morceaux choisis - mostly quotes - are now going out on twitter at twitter.com/marcelduchamp.
Dada has also come back. Double-barrelled, second shot. It's a phenomenon peculiar to this century [interviewed by Hahn, 1.7.1966]And those, with links added, are a small selection from that selected edit of the Ephemerides on Twitter. You might like it. Yesterday was Duchamp's birthday.
If I am to tell what my own point of departure has been, I should say it was the art of Odilon Redon [to Torrey, 2.7.1913]
Bravo! [watching the speedy progress of the masons on the fireplace in Cadaqués, 2.7.1962]
I admit that it's a new and immense pleasure to piss like everyone else, a pleasure that I have not known for 25 years [to Roché, 5.7.1954]
I who am doing nothing, I want you to work - Dada logic [to Gleizes, 6.7.1921]
For the glass, in principle I have no objection... the pieces are only held together by the lead wires and the colour! [to Roché 8.7.1951]
if she wants to discuss the price in order to please Arne, me and herself at the same time, my suggestion would be a price around $500 [of Belle Haleine to Hamilton, 12.7.1964]
Intimate relations with no one. That's one of the advantages of my situation [15.7.1920]
An exceptional rendezvous [15.7.1959]
we have very little contact with the Germans. They are chiefly occupied in finding and taking petrol for their cars [to Wood, 17.7.1940]
The main thing is to die without knowing it, which incidentally always happens that way; but to avoid the fears and physical suffering [to Roché, 17.7.1950]
Perhaps you know already that I have been here, for two months already, I am repairing my broken glass and the repairs are coming to an end [to Roullier, 21.7.1936]
The readymade is a consequence of the refusal which made me say: There are so many people who make pictures with their hands, that one should end up not using the hand [to Hahn, 23.7.1964]
Même does not refer to anything [...] neither denigration nor a joke, but a humour which amplifies. Somewhat the 'Ha ha' of Jarry. [to Hahn, 23.7.1964]
I am against the attitude which consists of reducing painting to a retinal emotion. Since Courbet, it is believed that painting is addressed to the retina: the retinal titillation. [to Hahn, 23.7.1964]
Introduce the martyr idea; suffering from not acquiring the needed, the desired. How much the martyr is unbearable [to Dreier, 27.7.1938]