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Pictorial Nominalism

On Marcel Duchamp’s Passage from Painting to the Readymade

2005
Author:

Thierry De Duve
Translated by Dana Polan
Foreword by John Rajchman

Pictorial Nominalism

Reveals the invention of the readymade as a critical point in contemporary art

Beginning in 1912 when Marcel Duchamp wrote in a note to himself, “No more painting, get a job,” Thierry de Duve reviews the implications of the readymade for art. Arguing that the readymade belongs to that moment in the history of painting when both figuration and the practice of painting become “impossible,” de Duve presents a psychoanalytically informed account of the birth of abstraction.

De Duve offers clear insight into Duchamp’s relation to painting and how readymades can be seen as a clear response to problems specific to painting.

American Book Review

Beginning with the instance in 1912 when Marcel Duchamp wrote in a note to himself, “No more painting, get a job,” Thierry de Duve reviews in Pictorial Nominalism the implications of the readymade for art and representation. Arguing that the readymade belongs to that moment in the history of painting when both figuration and the practice of painting become “impossible,” de Duve presents a psychoanalytically informed account of the birth of abstraction.

Differing considerably from such thinkers as Clement Greenberg and Peter Burger, de Duve demonstrates that the readymade is the link between painting in particular and art at large.

Pictorial Nominalism

Thierry de Duve, a native of Belgium, is an art historian.


Dana Polan is professor of cinema and comparative literature at the University of Southern California.

John Rajchman is professor of art at Columbia University.

Pictorial Nominalism

De Duve offers clear insight into Duchamp’s relation to painting and how readymades can be seen as a clear response to problems specific to painting.

American Book Review

Pictorial Nominalism

Contents

Foreword John Rajchman

1. Art and Psychoanalysis, Again?
2. Passages
3. Theoretical Interlude
4. Revelations
5. Resonances
6. Color and Its Name
7. The Ready made and Abstraction
8. Transitions

Notes

Index