Marcel Duchamp

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by Calvin Tomkins

In 1964, Calvin Tomkins spent a number of afternoons interviewing Marcel Duchamp in his apartment on West 10th Street in New York. Casual yet insightful, Duchamp reveals himself as a man and an artist whose playful principles toward living freed him to make art that was as unpredictable, complex, and surprising as life itself. Those interviews have never been edited and made public, until now. "The Afternoon Interviews," which includes an introductory interview with Tomkins reflecting on Duchamp as an artist, guide and friend, reintroduces the reader to key ideas of his artistic world and renews Duchamp as a vital model for a new generation of artists.

Calvin Tomkins was born in 1925 in Orange, New Jersey. He joined the New Yorker as a staff writer in 1960. His many profiles include John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham, Leo Castelli, Damien Hirst, Richard Serra, Bruce Nauman, Cindy Sherman and Jasper Johns. Tomkins is the author of 12 books, including "The Bride and the Bachelors" (1965), "Living Well Is the Best Revenge" (1971), "Lives of the Artists" (2008) and "Duchamp: A Biography" (1996).

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Oh, I’m a breather, I’m a respirateur, isn’t that enough?” He asked, “Why do people have to work? Why do people think they have to work?”

— Calvin Tomkins, Marcel Duchamp