Marcel Duchamp in the Village — 50 Years Later
Chess Forum, 219 Thompson Street
Artist Serkan Ozkaya in conversation with poet Robert Fitterman
For twenty years, Marcel Duchamp secretly worked on his final art piece, Étant donnés, in his New York City studio.
After his death on October 2nd, 1968, his close friends and the world were stunned to find, hidden in his studio on East 11th Street in the former St. Denis Hotel, the completed Étant donnés, an elaborately detailed and beautifully disturbing room-encompassing tableau, which could be peered at through two peepholes upon entering the room.
Four years ago, Serkan Ozkaya imagined Étant donnés as a camera obscura. What if the peepholes weren’t only peepholes? (When has Duchamp’s work only ever been one thing?) What if the peepholes were also meant to project an image? Ozkaya built a scale model to see; to his surprise, the projected image resembled a face. He further secured the studio in which the piece was originally completed. This month the idea has been tested in situ and Will Wait will also be publicly presented at Postmasters Gallery from October 21st through November 25th.
Join Artist Serkan Ozkaya and poet Robert Fitterman for a conversation about Duchamp’s enigmatic final work and contemporary artists’ response to it. Ozkaya and Fitterman recently curated a collection of works from twenty-six artists and writers that respond—implicitly and explicitly, artistically and scholarly—to Étant donnés in the Fall issue of Public Journal, called PUBLIC ATTENDANT A to Z. Those works and Ozkaya’s will inform the conversation; copies of the Public Journal will be available for purchase. Chess Forum is the perfect venue as chess featured throughout Duchamp’s career, from his early painting Portrait of Chess Players to Reunion, the performance/chess game he staged with John Cage in 1968, and Duchamp frequently played the game in Greenwich Village.
“I would rather wait for a public that will come in fifty years…after my death.”