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Typo/Topography of Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass (detail), 2001-02, by Richard Hamilton

Typo/Topography of Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass (detail), 2001-02, by Richard Hamilton (English, born 1922). Collection of the artist.


Museum Studies 6: Richard Hamilton

August 31–November 3, 2002

One of the most innovative and influential artists of our time, Richard Hamilton, has long been fascinated by the work and ideas of Marcel Duchamp. Of all of Duchamp’s remarkable contributions to modern art, it is The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), of 1915-23, that has made the most profound impression on the British artist.

Hamilton’s obsession with Duchamp’s mysterious masterpiece, which has been on permanent display at the museum since 1954, has led him to publish two classic typographic versions of the artist’s intricate manuscript notes and studies for the work, translated into English, and to execute a painstakingly accurate, full-size replica of The Large Glass, now in the collection of Tate Modern in London. His own paintings, such as Attic, of 1995, a work that was recently acquired by the museum, share Duchamp’s playful interest in language, humor, and eroticism, as well as a need to continuously question the relevance and possibilities of painting.

For the sixth installment of the Museum Studies program, Hamilton has created a computer-generated diagram of The Large Glass, over which he has superimposed the English translations of Duchamp’s notes, so that each visual element is united with the written ideas and schematic designs that preceded it. The original notes were published in facsimile editions, such as The Green Box, of 1934, which provide an indispensable guide to The Large Glass, since Duchamp firmly believed that his work could be understood only through the conjunction of word and image, as opposed to solely aesthetic responses to it. A marriage of typography and topography, Hamilton’s diagram extends Duchamp’s ideas and offers viewers a unique opportunity to observe the evolution of The Large Glass, while simultaneously underscoring the complexity of this most enigmatic work of modern art.

Inaugurated in 1993, the Museum Studies program invites contemporary artists to create works that engage various aspects of the museum and its collections. Previous initiatives were developed by artists Gabriel Orozco, Sherrie Levine, Lawrence Weiner, Richard Long, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

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Museum Studies 6: Richard Hamilton is supported by a generous grant from Kathy and Keith Sachs.


Michael Taylor, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

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