Abstract

Marcel Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) of 1915–1923 is a unique image-text system in which the physical object is complemented by hundreds of preparatory notes the artist considered to be as important as the object itself. Although Duchamp talked of “Playful Physics” in his notes for the Glass, much of his humor and the breadth of his creative invention was obscured for later audiences when, after 1919, the popularization of relativity theory eclipsed the late Victorian ether physics that had fascinated the public in the early years of the century. Indeed, drawing upon contemporary science and technology, among other fields, Duchamp had created in the Large Glass a witty, multivalent commentary on the age-old theme of sexual desire, presented in the very newest verbal and visual languages. These ideas are explored in this article, reprinted from the conclusion of the author's book Duchamp in Context: Science and Technology in the Large Glass and Related Works.

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