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Live Nude Girl!
05.26.2011
09:19 am

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In 1963 Marcel Duchamp and writer-girl-about-town Eve Babitz sat in one of the galleries of the Pasadena Museum of Art and played chess.

One of them was naked.

The occasion was the Duchamp retrospective at the museum.  The match was not a live performance, it was actually staged and no viewers were present.

In an Archives of American Art oral history, self-described “art groupie” Babitz, talks about her participation in the creation of the piece.

Yeah. At the Pasadena Art Museum, and he said he had this great idea that I should play chess naked with Marcel Duchamp and it seem to be such a great idea that it was just like the best idea I’d ever heard in my life. It was like a great idea. I mean, it was, not only was it vengeance, it was art, and it was like a great idea. And even if it didn’t get any vengeance, it would still turn out okay with me because, you know, it would be sort of immortalized. I would be this, you know, here’s this Nude Descending the Staircase guy and now he’s going to be The Nude in the Pasadena Art Museum. But, of course, I said, you know, I didn’t think that the Pasadena Art Museum old ladies would go along with this.

The conspirators somehow snuck past the little old ladies, and the Duchamp/Babitz photograph became a defining image of the early 60s LA art scene.

 

Posted by Nicole Panter

 

 

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