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date: 19 October 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter concentrates on the strain of modernism that flows from the work of French artist Marcel Duchamp and its relationship to ideas of music. While the significance of music as a paradigm for the development of “purist” modernism is well known—it is an ideology best encapsulated in the writing of Clement Greenberg, the development of abstraction in art, and is based on the model of musical meaning that was consequent on the concept of “absolute music”—what is less well known is the significance of music for the strain of modernism that came through Duchamp, forming a hybrid conceptual alternative to purism. It is argued that the idea of the readymade is consistent with idea of music as more than just sound, as a discursive practice, and that this “extra-musical” conception of music (as counterpoise to absolute music) provides a lineage linking Duchamp to Paik to Marclay.

Keywords: music, painting, Kandinsky, Duchamp, Paik, Marclay, readymade, abstraction

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