The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Mass Consumption and the Master Manipulators of the Marketplace: Duchamp, Warhol, Koons , Kinkade and Kruger

Professor James McManus
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During the twentieth-century the role of art as commodity raised interesting and often barbed inquiry in which artist and audience alike came to understand art, in significant part, as transmutable goods readily exchanged in the marketplace. This paper considers ways in which Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Thomas Kinkade, and Barbara Kruger set up interesting playbacks on the forces of consumer culture. Duchamp, claiming art to be a bourgeois myth, embraced machine made products as stand-ins for the hand made object. Warhol, who wanted to "be a machine", proposed a further neutering, one intended to produce a bland sameness on everyone and everything. Today, Koons teases our gullibility, wrapping the banal with high-toned rhetoric. Kinkade's strength is not in the work, but exploiting our gullibility, having us believe that mass-produced prints are "original reproductions". Kruger employs commercial imagery and rhetoric, torquing them into an interrogation of our gullibility.

Keywords: Market Place, Commodification, Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Thomas Kinkade, Barbara Kruger
Stream: Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Professor James McManus

Professor of Art History, Department of Art and Art History, California State University, Chico

Twice I have been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, four times I have received National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and a FIPSE Grant. My research on Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol has been presented at numerous conferences, symposia, and as a guest lecturer at various universities in the United States and Europe. Currently, I am writing an essay, "Trick Photography; Displacing the Object: Photograph of Marcel Duchamp Taken Using a Hinged Mirror, 1917", for the Pompidou Center's forthcoming publication on Dada. I have also been to guest curate an exhibition on Images of Duchamp for the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. This exhibition is scheduled for 2008. My book, Marcel Duchamp and The Photograph, is in manuscript form with a projected publication date of late 2006. Previous publications include "Mimicking Mechanical Reproduction" Duchamp's Box in a Valise and Warhol's MOTTS Apple Juice Box", Austin Museum of Art; "Marcel Duchamp, Again and Again" for the Electronic Review of Books; James Kuiper's exhibitions at the Jefferson House in Brasilia, Brazil and Galeria Altxerra in San Sebastian, Spain; and, the monograph on the Fluxus artist Alice Hutchins.

Ref: H05P0506