Ugly Duckling Presse

The Blind Man
The Blind Man

Marcel Duchamp & Beatrice Wood & Henri-Pierre Roché

edited by Sophie Seita

Poetry/Art/Criticism | $70 $60
Fall 2017
Buy"The premonition of institutional critique it summons remains provocatively equivocal."
The Blind Man and rongwrong were seminal New York Dada magazines edited and published by Marcel Duchamp, Henri-Pierre Roché, and Beatrice Wood in 1917. This facsimile edition, introduced by Sophie Seita, celebrates the 100th anniversary of their publication. The box set also includes a two-color offset reproduction of Beatrice Wood’s poster for The Blind Man’s Ball (1917) and a letterpress facsimile of Man Ray’s The Ridgefield Gazook (1915). Translations of the French texts by Elizabeth Zuba accompany the facsimile reprints.

The Blind Man and rongwrong were part of a network of little magazines that introduced audiences to avant-garde movements in art and literature; they featured contributions of poetry, prose, and visual art by Mina Loy, Louise Norton, Robert Carlton Brown, Erik Satie, Walter Arensberg, Francis Picabia, Alfred Stieglitz, and others. The Blind Man was the first print publication to circulate an image of Duchamp’s “Fountain” (photographed by Stieglitz) after its rejection from the first annual exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists, presenting a public challenge to the accepted definition of art during this time.

About the Author

Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp was a French (later American) artist, writer, sculptor, best known for his works Nude Descending a Staircase, Fountain, The Large Glass, his contributions to Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism, and his influence on later artists and writers, associated with Conceptual Art, among others. He was also a passionate chess-player, and regarded chess a form of art. In addition to The Blind Man, he edited New York Dada with Man Ray in 1921, and in the 40s, co-edited the surrealist VVV, with David Hare, André Breton, and Max Ernst, and became involved with another surrealist magazine View. He sometimes appeared in drag under his pseudonym ‘Rrose Sélavy’. For a while he collaborated with Katherine Dreier, and Man Ray, on Société Anonyme, Inc., an experimental and pedagogical ‘museum of modern art.’ He has a cameo in René Clair’s short film Entr'acte (1924). In 1962, he joined Oulipo, as an American correspondent.
Beatrice Wood
Beatrice Wood was an American artist, writer, and ceramicist. Before editing The Blind Man, she studied painting, acting, and dance in France, where she met the likes of Sarah Bernhardt and Isadora Duncan. Back in New York, her work was exhibited in the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917. She eventually moved to Ojai, California, to live close to the philosopher J. Krishnamurthi, and taught ceramics at his Happy Valley School. She was often referred to as ‘Mama of Dada’, which is also the title of a film about her life. At age 90, she started writing, encouraged by her friend, the French writer Anais Nin. In her best-known work, her autobiography I Shock Myself, she recalls, among other things, her involvement with New York Dada and modernism; the memoir and Wood’s life also inspired the character ‘Rose’ in James Cameron’s film Titanic.

Henri-Pierre Roché
Henri-Pierre Roché was a French writer, journalist, art collector and dealer. He was the author of the novels Jules et Jim and Deux anglaises et le continent, later turned into films by François Truffaut. He corresponded or was acquainted with many avant-garde artists and writers of his time, such as Georges Braque, Blaise Cendrars, Jean Cocteau, Le Corbusier, Isadora Duncan, Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Ezra Pound, Erik Satie, Gertrude Stein, and John Quinn.

About the Editor

Sophie Seita
Sophie Seita is a Postdoctoral Junior Research Fellow at Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, finishing her first monograph on avant-garde magazine communities from proto-Dada to digital publishing networks. Recent scholarly publications include an article on the editing work of Tom Raworth (in Critical Quarterly), an essay on the politics of the forum in feminist avant-garde magazines after 1980 (forthcoming in JML), and “Thinking the Unprintable in Contemporary Post-Digital Publishing” (in Chicago Review). She is also an artist who works with language on the page, in performance, and in translation. Her performance pieces have recently been presented at Company Gallery (NYC), La MaMa Galleria (NYC), Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), Parasol Unit (London), Bold Tendencies (London), and Arnolfini (Bristol).

Other Contributors

Elizabeth Zuba
Elizabeth Zuba is a poet and translator. Her recent translations include Marcel Broodthaers’s Pense-Bête (Granary Books), 10,000 Francs Reward (Printed Matter), While reading the Lorelei (for exhibition MoMA 2016) and Marcel Broodthaers: My Ogre Book Shadow Theater Midnight (Siglio Press) with Maria Gilissen; Nicolás Paris’s Leaves a Trace for The Valise (Library Council of the MoMA); Anouck Durand’s Eternal Friendship (Siglio Press, 2017 French Voices Award); Arnaldo Calveyra’s Letters So That Happiness (Ugly Duckling Presse); and the writings of Erik Satie, Francis Picabia and other contributors to Dada magazine The Blind Man (Ugly Duckling Presse).

Advance Praise

The Blind Man was as slippery as anything generated by the tricksiest Dada mo/ve/ment of all. Its first number commemorated the 1917 Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists as the signal that the American art world would no longer genuflect before the history of European painting. Presenting itself as ‘the link between the pictures and the public—and even between the painters themselves’, that issue posed as publication qua pedagogue: a magazine that would ‘give to those who want to understand the explanations of those who think they understand’.
Its second number was still richer and stranger. With an extended roster of agitants contributing a riot of genres, it protested the Indeps’ exclusion of Duchamp’s ‘Buddha of the Bathroom’ as a betrayal of modern art. Almost, even, of modernity itself. The premonition of institutional critique it summons remains provocatively equivocal. Seita’s knowledge of these magazines, and their imbrication in the ecologies of New York’s cultures of the new, is compendious. Her writing is sharp and sets these artefacts vibrating. This box is to be a very exciting thing.
—Dr. Sarah Hayden