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Artist: Duchamp, Marcel 8 of 9 Previous Previous | Next Next

Three Standard Stoppages (Third Version), 1963 (replica of 1913-14 original)

Marcel Duchamp

French, 1887-1968
Thread on canvas attached to glass, wood sticks, enclosed in wood croquet case
3 glass panels: 49-1/2 x 7-1/4 in. (125.7 x 18.4 cm); 3 wood sticks: 44-1/4 in. (112.4 cm); wood case: 13 x 52 x 9 in. (33.0 x 132.1 x 22.9 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase
© Succession Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2014 Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Not on view

Duchamp, wanting to capture the effect of chance on an everyday occurence, conducted the following experiment: from a height of one meter, he dropped a meter-long piece of thread horizontally onto a prepared canvas, letting it twist at random. He repeated this procedure two more times, fixing the threads in place where they fell. Transformed by chance, each "meter" was now gently curved instead of straight. Duchamp mimicked the curve of each stoppage, or thread, by cutting along it on a wooden slat.

The conception and execution for this piece was pure Duchamp. Motivated by a desire to see how chance directed his creative activity, the artist followed a system that emphasized process. The result, however, is not neutral. Rather, the stoppages present a retort to the meter as an absolute unit of measure and as a locus of authority, two concepts that were not easily tolerated by the non-conformist artist.

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Artist: Duchamp, Marcel 8 of 9 Previous Previous | Next Next