I often think of Duchamp’s contribution to visual art; And I often interchange the words development and destruction because of urban sprawl or other sad encroachments on landscapes, farmlands, and wildlife. Every time I hear the word “developer” I seem to think, “destroyer!!”.
When I was much younger, I was entirely open to what Art could be. I viewed Duchamp as opening that door as widely as possible. Even today, I think…..Nothing could have been more clear and precise than his most “famous” installations. Indeed, a man of intellect and wit. But of course, his influence led to the complete dismissal of the value of great painting by those who responded to his ideas
Duchamp’s name remains outstanding in the historical “development” of visual art. In fact, unlike all the “names” that flood the galleries and art magazines today, he is still in the pantheon of Moderns that the Post Modernists believe are passé. Duchamp contributed to postmodernism while rising above it’s egalitarianism because of what he did and more importantly, when he did it.
But Duchamp and postmodernists are destroyers in the guise of developers. Still, what else could Duchamp do, being Duchamp? And what else can postmodernists do, being postmodernists.
Serious contemporary painters take a serious look at those who put on the paint for centuries with brilliant and sensitive visual and intellectual responses. They look on as apprentices because they’ve been greatly moved by very great painting and want to join in the fullness of that experience as much as their talent will allow. It’s the complete opposite of disregarding those magnificent painting accomplishments in order to state one’s own philosophical statement.
The Met, the Chicago Art Institute, the Prado, the Louvre will guide today’s painters in the most positive directions. And seeking out contemporary fellow painters who understand this will also serve them well.