A Peek Into Duchamp’s Door

SOZA16Z-HArt critic Edward Sozanski writes: ‘Marcel Duchamp labored in secret for 20 years to produce what the painter Jasper Johns has called “the strangest work of art any museum has ever had in it.” He might be right: The diorama known by its abbreviated French title “Étant donnés” is spectacularly bizarre, enigmatic, mysterious, disturbing, captivating, and, perhaps to some observers, repellent. None of those attributes is obvious, because “Étant donnés” is also as secluded as a cloistered nun. It has been one of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s cherished masterpieces for 40 years, yet I’ll wager that – Duchamp partisans excepted – most visitors have not seen it or even been aware that it exists.’

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