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The Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has acquired what is widely considered to be a masterpiece of 20th century art by Marcel Duchamp.

The newly-acquired work of art by Duchamp, “From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy,” is a so-called “boîte” (box) containing 80 small-scale reproductions of the artist’s works. These range from his avant-garde paintings, such as the famous “Nude Descending a Staircase” that scandalized the New York art world at the Armory Show in 1913, to his provocative “ready-mades,” including the 1917 “Fountain,” an inverted urinal signed with the pseudonym “R. Mutt.”

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The Philadelphia Museum of Art has announced the acquisition of five major French paintings as a bequest from a longtime supporter.

The works are a late Cezanne painting of Mont Sainte-Victorie, a Manet still life of fruit, a landscape and cityscape by Pissarro and a Morisot portrait. All were a bequest from Helen Tyson Madeira, who died last year.

The museum also announced that it had received two early portraits by Marcel Duchamp.

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Friday, 14 November 2014 09:48

MoMA Explores the Work of Elaine Sturtevant

The first thing you see in “Sturtevant: Double Trouble,” the Museum of Modern Art’s taut and feisty retrospective of the American artist Elaine Sturtevant, is work by artists far better known than Ms. Sturtevant herself.

Right at the start is the familiar 1972 photographic portrait of the German Conceptualist Joseph Beuys, in his porkpie hat and flak jacket, striding toward the camera. A bit farther on you’ll find Jasper Johns’s 1955 “Target With Four Faces,” a combination of painting, collage and sculpture and a MoMA treasure. Near it is Eliot Elisofon’s classic 1952 time-lapse photograph of Marcel Duchamp descending a staircase.

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The Fine Art Society – established in 1876 – will on Friday open a show paying tribute to one of the most influential artists of all time, Marcel Duchamp.

The exhibition features 50 artists showing works under the title "What Marcel Duchamp Taught Me." Kate Bryan, the society’s director of contemporary art, said art historians and critics always talked about the legacy of Duchamp, but far less was heard from artists.

“To be honest, the more you study Duchamp, the less you know – he was so full of contradictions – so I thought the best thing to do was ask the artists.”

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 Gagosian Gallery in New York is currently hosting an exhibition of Alexander Calder’s gouache paintings on paper. Best known for his kinetic sculptures or “mobiles,” Calder created lesser-known gouache paintings throughout his life.

Calder created his first series of paintings in gouache during a year-long stay in Aix-en-Provence, France, in 1953. These spur-of-the-moment paintings were more immediate than Calder’s large-sale sculptures, which he was producing at the same time. While Calder’s paintings and sculptures both explore form, space, and balance, his gouaches are anchored in the natural world, while his sculptures tend to be more abstract. Calder also wandered outside of his restricted palette of black, white, and other primary colors in his gouaches, often experimenting with vivid ochres, yellows, and vermillion

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Nan Rosenthal, a curator who helped bring the 20th century to the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, died on Sunday at her home in Manhattan. She was 76.

The cause was heart failure, her sister-in-law Wendy Mackenzie said.

Over three decades, Ms. Rosenthal organized exhibitions and oversaw the acquisition of contemporary art, first at the National Gallery, which she joined in 1985, and afterward at the Met, with which she was associated from 1993 until her retirement in 2008.

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The 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art, referred to today as the Armory Show, was one of the most influential art events to take place during the 20th century. The show, which was held in New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory, introduced the American public to experimental European art movements including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism. While realistic movements dominated the country’s art scene, works by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), and Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) left the Armory Show’s American visitors awestruck.

On February 17, 2013, 100 years after the Armory Show took place, the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, New Jersey presented The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913. The exhibition does more than just celebrate the significant art event; it commends the American artists who presented two-thirds of the nearly 1,200 works on view. While European art was a hugely important part of the Armory Show, The New Spirit aims to disprove the notion that the American art featured at the show was largely provincial.        

The New Spirit brings together 40 diverse works of American modern art including realist works from the Ashcan School as well as more experimental pieces executed by the painters associated with the influential photographer and art dealer, Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946). The Montclair exhibition presents works by well-known artists such as Edward Hopper (1882-1967), William Glackens (1870-1938), Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), Robert Henri (1865-1929), and John Marin (1870-1953) alongside works by lesser-known artists including Manierre Dawson (1887-1969), Kathleen McEnery (1885-1971), and E. Ambrose Webster (1869-1935). The exhibition will also feature works by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) and Matisse to illustrate the influence of European modern art on its American counterpart.

The New Spirit will be on view through June 16, 2013.  

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Man Ray Portraits opens today, February 7, 2013 at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The first major Man Ray (1890-1976) exhibition to focus on his portraits, the show presents over 150 vintage prints and important works from international museums as well as private collections. A number of the photographs on view are on loan from the Man Ray Trust Archive. Taken between 1916 and 1968 in both Paris and the United States, many of the works have not been exhibited in the UK until now.

Born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia, Man Ray spent most of his career in Paris. He made significant contributions to the Dada and Surrealist art movements and worked in a variety of media, but became best known for his avant-garde photography as well as his fashion and portrait work. Man Ray was keen on experimentation, which led to the production of camera-less Rayographs. With the help of fellow photographer, Lee Miller (1907-1977), who was also Man Ray’s muse and lover, he invented solarisation, a technique that involves recording an image on a negative or on a photographic print, reversing the image’s tone so that dark areas appear light and vice versa.

Arranged chronologically, the exhibition features Man Ray’s portraits of artists, friends, celebrities, and lovers including Miller, Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Kiki de Montparnasse (1901-1953), and Catherine Deneuve (b. 1943). Man Ray Portraits will be on view through May 27, 2013.  

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Wednesday, 26 December 2012 17:07

Sweeping Exhibition Explores Abstraction at MoMA

Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925 opened on December 23 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and celebrates the bold art movement that swept across mediums and continents during the first half of the twentieth century. Severing ties with the realistic, practical images that dominated western art, abstraction infiltrated everything from sculpture and painting to poetry, music, and film.

Inventing Abstraction brings together over 350 works including paintings, stained glass, needlepoint, film, sculpture, and illustrated books. Organized by Leah Dickerman, a curator in MoMA’s painting and sculpture department, and Masha Chlenova, a curatorial assistant, the show includes many pieces that are on loan from outside museums.

Inventing Abstraction features works by Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), and many others. While extremely comprehensive, the exhibition draws connections between artists and illustrates the development of abstraction over time.

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The Centre Pompidou in Paris sent a number of French masterpieces to Shanghai’s Power Station of Art for the exhibition Electric Fields: Surrealism and Beyond – La Collection du Centre Pompidou, which opened on December 16. The show marks the first collaboration between the Pompidou, a leading museum of modern and contemporary art, and a Chinese institution.

The exhibition, which is part of the Shanghai Biennale, features approximately 100 works from the Pompidou’s collection including works by Rene Magritte (1898-1967), Andreas Gursky (b. 1955), Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), and Ed Ruscha (b. 1937). The show is divided into six categories that explore various Surrealist themes and includes paintings, sculpture, video and manuscripts.

The show’s title is a combination of two influences – the name of the venue, a former electric power station, and Andre Breton (1896-1966) and Philippe Soupault’s (1897-1990) seminal piece of Surrealist literature, The Magnetic Fields (1919). The exhibition runs through March 15, 2013 in Shanghai.

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