Thursday, August 09, 2007

R. Mutt, We Hardly Understood Ye...

Marcel Duchamp may be one of my all time favorite artists. Let's face it, he basically invented Post Modernism. His early painted work was considered cubism but was more on the futurist tip - and some how existed as neither. Duchamp's amazing Nude Descending A Staircase (1912) took elements from cubism, but at the same time represented movement - something that the cubist failed to do with their static still lives and portraits. One of the greatest interpretation's of this piece is in the book Art and Physics by Leonard Schlain (website here, author's blog here). The book links ideas in art to ideas that were taking place in science at the same time. He uses the painting to illustrate Einstein's Theory of Relativity, basically stating that it illustrates if one were to travel faster than the speed of light, they would see the past, present and future at the same time. I could be very off on this simple explanation that Mr. Schlain more eloquently describes, but I unfortunately no longer posses the book (liberated in a move), but still highly recommend it. If you are like me, a visual learner, it's a wonderful compendium to understanding the field of physics a little better, through the use of well known art works.

Learn more about Duchamp at this wonderful site, Understanding Duchamp, that is free of art world hyperbole

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