Godfather of all Modern Art

Chess Master

Chess Master

There was this chap, a rather fascinating chap, one who has left an indelible mark on the world, one who it is argued shaped the world of art as it is known today. He involved in surrealism and was integral to the dadaist movement. What is also argued is that he had a hand in the creation of Pop Art and that there would be now Hirst (a bad thing?) or Tracey Emin without him. He also had a hand in Jackson Pollock the poster boy for 20th century abstract expressionism by encouraging Peggy Guggenheim to commission the artist to create something in her home (it took 6 months but was worth it). One thing for certain is that the hugely influential Ai Weiwie is a massive fan of the man that they called Marcel Duchamp.

At the Barbican at the moment there is a whole program of interesting Duchamp ditties and the one that drew SF was the Cabaret Duchamp. The only way to describe it without writing and essay would be quaintly-fucked-up-innocent-devious-brilliance.

Opening with host Will Gompertz getting two people on stage from the crowd to perform, who in turn picked out a poor fellow in the crowd who sang a Toy Dolls hit about a vicar cock-blocking (quite apt of the day that the world saw another creepy Pope chosen) then the main attraction.

Then…. an interesting spoken word turn by Stewart Lee, accompanied by a unplanned racket from two accomplices. Margaret Leng Tan performing on a miniature piano, a mesmerising and amusing turn by Martin Creed who coupled the guitar, harmonica, piano, ballet and a penis going from flaccid to turgid and back again in perfect timing as the crowd cooed and gasped with shock and delight.

The final act was Dog Kennel Hill Project who sang, danced, chanted and then perfectly summed up the thoughts of the crowd in a repetitive piece quote the crowds potential thoughts or maybe the reviews of critics.

The original... not the one on Old Street

The original… not the one on Old Street

How is this Duchamp? Well Duchamp was the man who said that anything could be art and that art did not have to be beautiful, the man who entered a toilet into a New York exhibition as art. Anything can be art and be interesting and this certainly was.

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