When the French artist Marcel Duchamp arrived by ship to New York in , his reputation, as the saying goes, preceded him. Two years earlier, in , after an inauspicious debut in France, Duchamp sent his painting Nude Descending a Staircase No. But why was the painting so shocking? The group that organized the exhibition called themselves the Association of American Painters and Sculptors. The sprawling exhibition also included American art and no doubt the organizers hoped that they might promote the work of an American vanguard in the company of illustrious European modernists. The Armory Show also had the unfortunate effect of showcasing the provincialism of American artists who seemed to paint as if nothing had changed since the Realist and Impressionist movements of the nineteenth-century.
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Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2 (1912): Duchamp’s Stirring Piece
Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2 (): Duchamp's Stirring Piece
Marcel Duchamp was born in Blainville, Normandy in a family where all his siblings also became artists. In , he developed his own style of Cubism, which was equally Futurist in its inspirations and characterized by his work, Nude Descending a Staircase. The readymades were appropriated everyday objects, which Duchamp used to question the notion of art and to remove the notions of adoration and attraction surrounding art which he found unnecessary. His first readymade was the version of Bicycle Wheel , in which he mounted a wheel on a wooden stool. Another of his most famous readymades was Fountain , which was made up of a urinal signed R.
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But after facing scads of rejection, mockery, and even a presidential put-down, this provocative piece rose to the ranks of masterpiece. Nude Descending a Staircase, No. However, Duchamp's use of 20 different static positions created a sense of motion and visual violence that Cubists claimed made this piece more Futurist than a true example of their avant-garde art movement. However, the tantalizing title Nude Descending a Staircase, No.