The Bride Stripped Bare

Cooler and cloudy today in Paris, though the sun came out at the end of the afternoon, which I spent at the Centre Pompidou visiting the Duchamp exhibit. Crowded--today was the first Sunday in the month, I realised, and free. Still lots to learn about Duchamp and the show has several strong points, including a chronological treatment of his evolution from Fauvism to Cubism to his own particular brand of Cubism which involved not looking at an object from all sides simultaneously--though he did that too--but portraying something, a woman, two chess players at several different moments in time, and putting all the moments together on the same canvas, the most famous example being the "Nude Descending a Staircase." The last part of the exhibit showed the development of the Grand Glass, the Bride and her Bachelors. I knew the big well-known works, but it is very interesting to see the smaller, less well known works that link his different styles together and show how and why he evolved as he did. I remember once seeing a Mondrian show in The Hague that did the same.

All squished into too small a space for the number of visitors, given that there are a lot of very small pieces of paper to look at closely. Still, it's a key period in the history of c20 art, not just visual, and worth going back to, partly for Duchamp's own analyses of his development--say the way his titles moved from being descriptive to being thematic/allegorical to being utterly enigmatic and oblique.

Crossing the Place St Michel on the way home, I stopped to listen to a pianist playing a concert on a piano he had put in the middle of the square. His concentration and accuracy and verve were quite moving.