Marcel Duchamp versus Pop Art

Pop art sex juxtaposed with Marcel Duchamp sex. Which is your turn on?

Giorgio Agamben raises the question of the difference between Marcel Duchamp's Readymades and Pop Art. I don't follow much of what he writes aabout this ("The man without content"), but just posing the question to myself I find it hard to answer discursively, as opposed to emotionally. There are conceptual similarities. But the result seem to me disjoint.

Lux mentis lux orbis. All humans! Be a lighthouse in the darkness of all that which is not human or nominally human but less than honorifically so!

I would rather compare the Roy Lichtenstein Pop Art nude (above) with Henri Matisse's "Blue Nude" (right), and the choice seems obvious to me. But that is not the question here. Fauvism is neither Pop Art nor Dada, although it too does share some attributes with either or both.

What is the point of the Wonder Woman headband on the Pop Art lady's forehead? Or is that the point, i.e. that she's Wonter Woman – like Wonder Bread, which it's a wonder they can get away with calling it bread but is does build strong bodies 12 ways, of course? I can imagine Mr .Zelensky's freedom fighters in the Donbas wh=ould very well undersatnd the Pop Art nude, nd since she's superhuman that should prop up their self-imagesas superhuan to kill Russians, too. Duh!

AZOV Batallion. Neo-Nazis converted into 'just' extreme nationalists? They started off as fanatical supporters of a soccer team. Go team!

But what would those stout hearted machos make of Marcel Duchamp's "Female fig leaf" on the right? Of course I should not speak disrespectfully of America's kitschmensch President Biden's proxy freedom fighers in the Donbas. They can't help it that they are ignorant oafs. I think they would "get" the Pop Srt nude. Once the Duchamp Fig Leaf wa [s]explained to them, they might vaguelyunderstand that women have different physiology than they have, if they ever knew anything about that other than assuming the missionary position to produce more freedom fightres for the Reich – Oops again, the AZOV batallion are no longer neo-Nazis but regular soldiers in the official Ukrainian Army.

Mr Lichtenstein's imae can make you feel you are intellectuall y= superior bacaue you recognize the alusin to newspapaer "wirephotos. And you also recognize the Wonder Brad – typo: Woman headband. But waht is there to think o beyond that except that it's "Pop Art", i.e., art based on popular imagery. (Foreign aside: It doesn'd disdain popular art.) Oh, yeah: images can be magnified and if they aaer composed of a dot mtrix that is higher dpi than the human eye can resolve, they look analog until you magnify them. Wow! That's a lot to learn, isn't it?

Now, of cousre, there is a lot ot learn form both cheap pornography and girlie agazines as well as from the most refined estheticism (Duchamp), which prigs and prude do not want tanyone to now about. This means there will always be a market for these materials: the prigs and prudes themsselves, because they need to know wverything they want to meke sure nobody learns about and how can you be sure somebody aisn't on to something if you don't know what it might be? In order to extirpate sex sin, prigs and prudes need toappreciate it in detail, so somebody need st produce it. they are busy cutting off the lib they are sitting on.

To enjoy Duchamp's female fig leaf, you need to be intersted in the history of bowdlerization of artworks throughthe ages, pernhaps starting with painting over the genitals in micha=elangelo's Sisteine Chapen ceiling. But people who would "appreciate Pop Art are not inerested in figl leafs. They acceot that some things are forbidden but you do them anyway, that statues hae fig lefs, and they discharge their hormonal excitations an deverything just is wath it is, for them. Duchamp's "readymade" is for people who get off on learning. Some people like to wave flags in Fourth of July pardes and some people like to wait for Godot. It's a matter of "taste" and distaste. But the masses get confused if they see the kind of things that the intellectuals do so itis impoertant to keep them in the dark. When there is leakage which stirs up the emotions of the rabble so they ar not happy producing surplus value an replacement citizens, the intellectusls ge tthrown under the bus to shos toe now envion masses there s o eexctpions arfter alll

So how are Pop Art and Duchamp art different? First, let me say I have not picked prehaps the worst of Duchamp: a squishy little breast on a board: "Please touch!" that may be oivnig ni the directio of the scene form "Le chien Andiou" I didn't watch of the eyeball being slices open with a straight razor. Similarly, there is I think better Pop Art (immediately below).

Pop Art

To my (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) esthetic sensibility, the two immediately above Lichtenstein paintings seem preferable to Wonder Woman (top). I have also presented them here in a non-Pop Art way and also, for me personallly, the Fighter plane picture has a non-esthetic iterest sinct I hav been trying to ge trecognition for the story of the provenance of the "Star and bars" insignia for 25 years.And, transitively, Wonder Woman seems better to me than a War Hole Marilyn or even worse than that Campbell's Soup can. As for soup cans, I have cooked up my own more Duchampian riff on that theme: here.

Some differences between Duchamp art and Pop Art? Pp Art is generally easier to understand and more commercial than Duchamp Art. You don't have to be as educated or think nearly as much to like Pop Art. And aren't things not so simple? Is a Wrar hole Soup can on a par with a Lichtenstein "wirephoto" painting? Did either of them do a wirephoto soup can? And what about Robert Indiana's "Like every animal, every nation mus have a backside" painting which is a kind of social commentary? Then also propaganda art which like the Robert Indiana painting has message but a different kind of message, and the other Pop Art paintings have relatively less message of any kind (albeit everything has a message in McLuhan terms)?

The net

Ce n'est pas Pop Art.

In Agamben's taxonomy I think he has Duchamp's Readymades wrong. Pop Art is mostly Pop Art: somebody had the original idea of oversized primary color enlargements of commercial images. After that it has been reproducing ever more of the same, or slight variations. Duchamp's Readymades, in contrast, are not a once for all model being endlessly repeated. "Fountain" and Female fig leaf" are both called Readymades. About the only things they have in common is that they are not normal pbjectsof daily use used in their notmal ways. The "Fountain", literally is ready-made: You can buy one at your local plumbing supply store, similarly the bottle drying rack. The fig leaf is a molded object (specially made by hand labor) with no prototype in the ordinary world. Women do not go around making molds of their cunts. If Duchamp's "Readymades" were like Pop Art, they would be an endless stream of objects of everyday pragmatic use put on display: toaster, urinal, table radio, teapot, bottle drying rack, can of Campbell's soup, microwave oven, etc....

Open ended imagination versus open ended production runs. Intellectualism versus commecialism. (Perhaps where the two might meet would be with Salvador Dali, who was a crass commercial fake but made a point of advertising he was one, not advertising a product as if it was something straightforwardly worthy of respect. Ah! There's an anti-Pop Art painting: Big wirephoto coored buttocks with a cartoon blurb: "Kick me!")

+2024.02.12 v031
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