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Duchamp: A Biography
ISBN 0805008233 / 9780805008234 / 0-8050-0823-3
Publisher Henry Holt & Co
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Marcel Duchamp, born into an artistic middle-class French family in 1887, first gained recognition as an artist in 1913 when he submitted his painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 to the Armory Show in New York. The newspapers latched onto it after discovering that there was no trace of a nude, or even a real figure, in the painting, which came to symbolize the movement of modern art toward absurdity, humor, and avant-garde disregard for expectations. As an artist, Duchamp never matched the success and recognition of his most well-known work; later in his career, his works of "art" consisted of signed ceramic urinals. Calvin Tomkins, a writer for The New Yorker who befriended Duchamp in New York in the 1960s, has written the first full-length biography of the enigmatic Dadaist. [via]