Marcel Duchamp. To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour. Buenos Aires 1918

Marcel Duchamp

To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour

Buenos Aires 1918

Medium
Oil, silver leaf, lead wire, and magnifying lens on glass (cracked), mounted between panes of glass in a standing metal frame, 20 1/8 x 16 1/4 x 1 1/2" (51 x 41.2 x 3.7 cm), on painted wood base, 1 7/8 x 17 7/8 x 4 1/2" (4.8 x 45.3 x 11.4 cm)
Dimensions
Overall 22" (55.8 cm) high
Credit
Katherine S. Dreier Bequest
Object number
150.1953
Copyright
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp
Department
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Marcel Duchamp has 44 works online.
There are 1,518 sculptures online.

The title of this work, which Duchamp said he "intended to sound like an oculist’s prescription," tells the viewer exactly how to look at it. But peering through the convex lens embedded in the work’s glass "for almost an hour” would have a hallucinatory effect, the view being dwarfed, flipped, and otherwise distorted. Meanwhile the viewer patiently following the title's instruction is him- or herself put on display for anyone else walking by. Duchamp called To Be Looked At . . . his "small glass," to distinguish it from his famous Large Glass of 1915–23. He made the work in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he had fled earlier in 1918 to escape the oppressive atmosphere of the United States during World War I. When he shipped it back to New York, the glass cracked in transit, an effect that delighted him.

Gallery label from Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925, December 23, 2012–April 15, 2013

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
The artist
Katherine S. Dreier (d. 1952), West Redding, Connecticut. [Purchased from Duchamp], by 1936
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Katherine S. Dreier Bequest, 1953

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