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Marcel Duchamp and Japanese Art

Marcel Duchamp and Japanese Art

In a nutshell

Over 150 pieces from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art provide a retrospective of the work of Marcel Duchamp. Highlights include early portraits, cubism paintings (including Nude Descending a Staircase), readymades (including Bicycle Wheel and Fountain), a replica of The Large Glass, and photographs. The exhibition outlines the artist’s travels, his female persona (Rrose Sélavy), his passion for chess, his production of replicas of his work, and his final work Étant donnés. The exhibition ends with about 10 pieces of Japanese art, which are presented through the lens of Duchamp’s readymades and reproductions.

The venue

The exhibition is on the second floor, rooms 1 and 2, of the Heiseikan building of the Tokyo National Museum. Some gallery walls are covered with black and white photographs of Duchamp.

English? (labels/audio guides/handouts)

All of the information, with the exception of the short film, is in English. There is an audio guide available for download in Japanese only.


Photos are allowed.

The feels

While it’s interesting to learn more about the life, interests and art of Duchamp, information about his outsized impact on the art world was a bit lacking. The connection to Japanese art seemed like an add on rather than integrated into Duchamp’s work.


Those interested in learning more about Marcel Duchamp.

How far out?

Centrally located in Ueno Park.

How much time?

About an hour.

How much money?

¥1,200 for general admission.

Until when?

December 9, 2018

Rating: make a special trip, see it if you’re in the area or have some free time, see it only if you like this specific type of art

Worth the trip for art history nerds or those in Ueno who’d like to learn more about Marcel Duchamp.


https://www.tnm.jp/modules/r_free_page/index.php?id=1915 and http://www.duchamp2018.jp/ (Japanese only)

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