The Blind Man
Marcel Duchamp & Beatrice Wood & Henri-Pierre Roché
edited by Sophie Seita
"The premonition of institutional critique it summons remains provocatively equivocal." — Sarah Hayden
While the magazine itself has only fairly recently garnered critical interest from artists and scholars, the second issue of The Blind Man featured what is perhaps one of the best known conceptual artworks of all time: Duchamp’s urinal "Fountain," photographed by Alfred Stieglitz. The issue’s cover featured—no less famous—Duchamp’s "Broyeuse De Chocolat (Chocolate Grinder)," often considered to have initiated Duchamp’s move towards an anti-art aesthetic. Putting the "Fountain" and "Chocolate Grinder" back into their original publication context, a print community in which editors and contributors defended the scandal caused by Duchamp’s public challenge to the accepted definition of art, will help contemporary readers appreciate the radicalism of Duchamp’s work inside a magazine and avant-garde community that was deeply engaged with the issues of its time. This facsimile reprint will be complemented by an extensive essay by Sophie Seita, contextualizing The Blindman/The Blind Man and rongwrong within the New York Dada and modernist magazine ecology. A letterpress broadside of The Ridgefield Gazook and an offset poster for The Blind Man's Ball, designed by Beatrice Wood, will also be included in the boxed set.
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’.—Dr. Sarah Hayden
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.