Marcel Duchamp lovers rejoice. In April 2019, the Art Gallery of New South Wales will welcome the most comprehensive exhibition of his work ever to be seen in the Asia-Pacific region. The Essential Duchamp opens in October to mark the 50th anniversary of his death, with stops in Tokyo and Seoul.

DuchampMarcel Duchamp

The exhibition will consist of approximately 150 works and related documentary materials, sourced from across Duchamp’s 60-year career. Drawn from the Philadelphia Museum of Art – thought to possess the largest collection of works by Duchamp in the world – it also includes pieces from its library and archival holdings.

The exhibition offers a chronological look at Duchamp’s life and art, beginning with his experimental early period through to the remaining decades of his life when he had achieved legendary status in the art world. It features important early works such as Portrait of Dr. Dumouchel (1910), Sonata (1911), and Chocolate Grinder (No. 2) (1914), alongside many key works such as Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912), which made Duchamp’s name when it was exhibited at the Armory Show in New York, 1913. The landmark work will be seen by Australian audiences for the first time.

DuchampNude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912). Philadelphia Museum of Art 

“We are delighted to share it with new audiences in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Timothy Rub, the Philadelphia Museum’s George D. Widener Director and CEO. “Since 1950, when Louise and Walter Arensberg donated their distinguished collection to the Museum, it has been a destination for those interested in Duchamp’s work and has become an important centre for the study of his creative process.”

“These holdings constitute a legacy that is central to our understanding of modern art. We hope to introduce audiences unfamiliar with Duchamp to his work and acquaint them with his complex modes of thought, his different personas, and the sustained effort he made to eliminate the boundary between art and life,” Rub added.

Dr Michael Brand, director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, has expressed how glad the Gallery is to partner with the Philadelphia Museum for a second time.

“The Philadelphia Museum of Art is an encyclopaedic museum of the highest order with a grand tradition of both research and innovative exhibitions. The Gallery is delighted to introduce to Australian audiences for the first time, the full creative accomplishment of this maverick artist who changed the way we look at art,” Dr Brand said.

The Essential Duchamp is on at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from April – August 2019. Tickets are available closer to the exhibition opening.

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