Letterpress poster (38" x 25"), designed by Duchamp, printed in black and orange on white ground, acting as both notice for and as a catalogue of works shown at the landmark DADA exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York, April 15 to May 9, 1953, with the texts and list of exhibited works creating a complex, typographically radical, and beautifully informative tableau. New York (Sidney Janis Gallery) 1953.
The international group exhibition was assembled, catalogued, and installed by Duchamp, and included some 212 works by both Duchamp and a roster of artists associated with the DADA movement working both individually and collaboratively. According to Arturo Schwarz in the Duchamp catalogue raisonne, "The catalog was distributed at the exhibition as a ball of crushed tissue paper, 'a Dada gesture to cancel the 'seriousness' of exhibition catalogs'. Sidney Janis, in answer to a request for further information, wrote 'The Dada poster by Marcel Duchamp for our DADA show of 1953 was very carefully planned over a period of weeks, and when it was finally accepted as perfect, then Duchamp crushed one into a wastepaper ball (to be discarded into the wastepaper basket). 'This is the way you should mail them' and we did just that. We also had these 'wads of wastepaper' on exhibit in a wastepaper basket, and when the visitors arrived they rescued these from the basket, opened them and flattened them as best they could and read the catalog notations. Many clients complained that they did not receive the DADA catalog, and when we checked we discovered that the various maids and butlers receiving these 'wads of paper' threw them away, without noticing them to be a catalog.'" (Arturo Schwarz, "The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp; Third revised and expanded edition; New York (Delano Greenidge) 1997; entry #543, page 801). Because so many of the posters were crushed and discarded, only a small number of uncrushed examples have survived, thus making the present object quite rare.
Our copy is one of an unknown but presumably very small number of uncrushed examples, though it was folded at one point. There is some fading to the orange ink to various degrees and some very minor soiling along a couple of folds, otherwise a very good copy of a rare and important work documenting an influential exhibition (both Johns and Rauschenberg were reportedly big fans of the show) that has only gained importance over the ensuing years.
Book ID: 51000