duchamp dream

Marcel Duchamp and I are collaborating on a giant wall painting. Duchamp’s part in this work consists of a talking portrait of himself – a profile which appears at the center of a brightly colored rectangle on the white wall. Using a long stick to push the colors around, I demonstrate the niceties of the composition to a large audience standing in a semicircle. “You see,” I say, “we (Duchamp and I) are much the same – but mostly at the edges!” Now the righthand edge of the rectangle explodes in a flashing white light which then “bleeds” into a field of dazzling pellucid orange. The room during this phase of the work has been almost totally in the dark – the only light source being the painting itself – its colors illumined from the inside. Now the room lights up and I am painting the four walls, running back and forth like crazy with my stick. In one corner I draw a huge black gorilla figure and pivoting to face the next long wall, I trace a black line punctuated with a thick gob of paint which sticks out like a fist. I pause, sensing this work is “a great success.”

(Bill Berkson, in Serenade.)

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