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Boite Alerte (Mailbox), 1959

Marcel Duchamp

French, 1887-1968
Prints and facsimiles in special box, Edition of 200, No. 166
11-1/4 x 7-1/8 x 2-1/2 in. (28.6 x 18.1 x 6.4 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase
P.1965.107
© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Succession Marcel Duchamp 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

Boîte Alerte was produced for the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme, held December 15, 1959 through February 15, 1960, at the Galerie Daniel Cordier in Paris. The Surrealist exhibition called for a “return to eroticism” and Duchamp did not disappoint. The green-cardboard mailbox includes a host of letters, texts, telegrams, and postcards representing or made by the artists in the show. Duchamp ensured that there would be no mistaking what was included, as he blatantly labeled the front “Missives Lascives”—lascivious missives. Covertly, he also highlighted the letters “EROS” in the exhibition’s title on the side of the box.

This deluxe edition of the Boîte Alerte includes the rectified readymade Couple of Laundresses’ Aprons. The potholders were put inside the double-glazed, flat-hinged frame for the 1963 Duchamp retrospective and have remained displayed this way ever since.


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