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Playing with Earth and Sky
Astronomy, Geography, and the Art of Marcel Duchamp
James Housefield

Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture

2016 • 312 pp. 100 illus. (20 color plates), 1 map 6 x 9"
Individual Artists / Art & Popular Culture / Modern Art

$40.00 Paperback, 978-1-61168-957-0
$85.00 Hardcover, 978-1-61168-956-3

$34.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-958-7

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Hardcover is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)

“Housefield’s book opens new ground for understanding Duchamp’s concept of art and its function: it is a fascinating and rewarding study.”—French Studies: A Quarterly Review

The influence of astronomy and geography on the great Dadaist

Playing with Earth and Sky reveals the significance astronomy, geography, and aviation had for Marcel Duchamp—widely regarded as the most influential artist of the past fifty years. Duchamp transformed modern art by abandoning unique art objects in favor of experiences that could be both embodied and cerebral. This illuminating study offers new interpretations of Duchamp’s momentous works, from readymades to the early performance art of shaving a comet in his hair. It demonstrates how the immersive spaces and narrative environments of popular science, from museums to the modern planetarium, prepared paths for Duchamp’s nonretinal art. By situating Duchamp’s career within the transatlantic cultural contexts of Dadaism and Surrealism, this book enriches contemporary debates about the historical relationship between art and science.

This truly original study will appeal to a broad readership in art history and cultural studies.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“In this original, highly readable book, Housefield illustrates and analyzes the steady influence of science, especially astronomy and geography, on Duchamp’s oeuvre. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice

“Housefield has created a rich example of a geohumanities text, a text that offers much to . . . art history and geography alike. There is much geographers can learn from this work . . . in its offering of a series of more subtle and careful ways of thinking about how they might seek geographical themes and practices within art. This is no small disciplinary contribution in the midst of the artistic and creative turns that have moved geography in recent years.”
American Association of Geographers Review of Books

“James Housefield’s book makes a major new contribution to our understanding of Duchamp’s witty engagement with science and other forms of knowledge. Moving beyond the artist’s ‘playful physics,’ he explores the celestial and terrestrial realms of astronomy and geography that were both prominent cultural concerns in the early twentieth century. Deeply grounded in French language and literature, the history of popular astronomy, and the pioneering work of cultural geographer Denis Cosgrove, Housefield brings a multitude of new insights to Duchamp’s art and ideas that have eluded previous scholars.”—Linda Dalrymple Henderson, professor of art history, University of Texas at Austin

JAMES HOUSEFIELD is associate professor in the Department of Design, and on the graduate faculties in art history, French, and performance studies, University of California, Davis.

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:08:02 -0500