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"Cinematic Blossoming": Duchamp, Chess, and Infraqueer Mating

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This essay interrogates the photograph Tonsure, which shows Marcel Duchamp with a five-pointed star shaved on this head. I consider this image within the context of Duchamp'ss abandonment of painting and his transformation into the female alter-ego Rrose Se'slavy. The chronological proximity of Tonsure to the ambivalent Rrose Se'slavy suggests that Duchamp was searching for another way to represent himself as an artist. I thus propose reading the allusion to the de-sexualized masculinity of the priest with respect to his search for 'sanother's masculinity. By analysing the implications of Tonsure, this essay aims to broaden the field of investigation around Duchamp'ss masculinity by situating this unusual self-representation in relation to his artistic strategy after the end of painting.
Regions which are not ruled by time and space
  • Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp, "'Regions which are not ruled by time and space....,'" in Salt Seller: The Writings of Marcel Duchamp, trans. Elmer Peterson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), 127-37,
A Little Game Between 'I' and 'Me': Marcel Duchamp, Chess, and New York Dada
  • P N Humble
  • Bradley Bailey
P. N. Humble, "Marcel Duchamp: Chess Aesthete and Anartist Unreconciled," The Journal of Aesthetic Education 32, no. 2 (1998): 4-55; and Bradley Bailey, "A Little Game Between 'I' and 'Me': Marcel Duchamp, Chess, and New York Dada," SECAC Review 16, no. 1 (2011): 23-38.
Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess
  • Francis M Naumann
Francis M. Naumann, "Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess," in Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess, ed. Francis M. Naumann and Bradley Bailey (New York: Readymade Press, 2009), 1-48, 1.
When the pieces have slightly different values (a rook, which is worth more, for a bishop) this is called "losing the quality," although this can be beneficial for the position. The deeper value system in chess transforms the "material" (any actual piece) into "space
  • Jennifer Shahade
Jennifer Shahade, "Marcel Duchamp Game Analysis," in Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess, 89-133, 89. 7. In chess terminology an "exchange" occurs when both players assent to losing a piece of equal value (a knight for a bishop). When the pieces have slightly different values (a rook, which is worth more, for a bishop) this is called "losing the quality," although this can be beneficial for the position. The deeper value system in chess transforms the "material" (any actual piece) into "space" (possibilities of future moves by other pieces) through a "sacrifice."
Although women such as Judith Polgar (b. 1976) and Hou Yifan (b. 1994) are now playing on a par with the best men in the world
  • Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp, "The Green Box," in Salt Seller: The Writings of Marcel Duchamp, 26-71, 42. 9. Although women such as Judith Polgar (b. 1976) and Hou Yifan (b. 1994) are now playing on a par with the best men in the world, causing many young women to enter the game, before the last few decades the chess scene was overwhelmingly male.
York Dada in the Context of World War I
York Dada in the Context of World War I," Art History 25, no. 2 [2002]: 162-205, 183-85).
underlining the queer sense of "penis" in the last French word. Franklin might have added that
Another pun of Duchamp conceals "vit" in The Box of 1914 as Paul Franklin points out: "On n'a que: pour femelle la pissotière et on en vit." Franklin translates this as "One only has: for female the pissotière and one lives by it," underlining the queer sense of "penis" in the last French word. Franklin might have added that "on n'a que" conceals "on a queue" with another argot term for penis, and "on n'a qu'eux," (we have only them [masc.])," adducing to his queer reading (Paul Franklin, "Object Choice: Marcel Duchamp's Fountain and the Art of Queer Art History," Oxford Art Journal 23, no. 1 [2000]: 25-50, 47).
Duchamp delighted in twisting gender-defined identity to the point that this criterion for identity might dissipate in a pleonastic cloud
My use of the term "queer" is close to Robert Harvey's, who writes: "Duchamp delighted in twisting gender-defined identity to the point that this criterion for identity might dissipate in a pleonastic cloud... Duchamp's work is intrinsically queer-not so much on the side of product as on the side of process" (Robert Harvey, "Where's Duchamp?-Out Queering The Field," Yale French Studies 109 [2006]: 83-97, 96).
David McKay, 1949) and Mary Yalom
  • See Henry
  • A Davidson
See Henry A. Davidson, A Short History of Chess (New York: David McKay, 1949) and Mary Yalom, Birth of the Chess Queen (New York: Harper Collins, 2004).
The apocryphal tale of Duchamp's first wife gluing the chess pieces of his chessboard out of jealousy reaffirms the infraqueer undermining of heterosexual mores (Naumann
  • George Baker
and George Baker, The Artwork Caught by the Tail: Picabia and Dada in Paris (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007), 172. 20. The homosexual/homophobic triangle between Buñuel and Dalí and Federico García Lorca is addressed by Robert Short in The Age of Gold: Surrealist Cinema (New York: Creation Books, 2003), 52-65. 21. The apocryphal tale of Duchamp's first wife gluing the chess pieces of his chessboard out of jealousy reaffirms the infraqueer undermining of heterosexual mores (Naumann, "Art of Chess," 23).
Examining Evidence: Did Duchamp Simply Use a Photograph of 'Tossed Cubes' to Create his 1925 Chess Poster?
  • Roland Shearer
  • Robert Slawinski
See Rhonda Roland Shearer and Robert Slawinski, "Examining Evidence: Did Duchamp Simply Use a Photograph of 'Tossed Cubes' to Create his 1925 Chess Poster?," The Marcel Duchamp Studies Online Journal (2002), toutfait.com/examining-evidence-did-duchamp-simply-use-a-photographoftossed-cubes-to-create-his-1925-chess-poster/.