John Cage on Duchamp

Seems Pollock tried to do it—paint on glass It was in a movie. There was an admission of failure. That wasn’t the way to proceed. It’s not a question of doing again what Duchamp already did. We must nowadays nevertheless be able to look through to what’s beyond—as though we were in it looking out. What’s more boring than Marcel Duchamp? I ask you. (I’ve books about his work but never bother to read them.) Busy as bees with nothing to do.

He requires that we know that being an artist isn’t child’s play: equivalent in difficulty—surely—to playing chess Furthermore a work of our art is not ours alone but belongs also to the opponent who’s there to the end.


He simply found that object, gave it his name. What then did he do? He found that object, gave it his name. Identification. What then shall we do? Shall we call it by his name or by its name? It’s not a question of names.

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