Men before the mirror: Duchamp, Man Ray and masculinity

Hopkins, D. (1998) Men before the mirror: Duchamp, Man Ray and masculinity. Art History, 21(3), pp. 303-323. (doi: 10.1111/1467-8365.00112)

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This article examines the extent to which two of Duchamp’s readymades, Fountain (1917) and the textual readymade ‘Men Before the Mirror’ (1934), deal with questions of male psychology and subjectivity. The bulk of the essay is taken up with an analysis of the complexities of ‘Men Before the Mirror’, a text which, in the past, was thought ot have been appropriated by Duchamp from a female friend of Man Ray, and then signed by him using the name of his female alter ego, Rrose Sélavy. It is argued that the authorial ‘voice’ in this text is, in fact, remarkably close to that of Duchamp himself, given the wider range of his thematic preoccupations. Simultaneously arguing against the view that the gender switches of Duchamp/Rrose Sélavy can be read as deconstructive of socially inscribed gender positions, the article seeks to establish that the relationship of Duchamp’s/Rrose’s text to the photographs by Man Ray that accompany it in its original published context, reveal fundamentally masculine or ‘homosocial’ concerns. These in turn help to clarify the underlying dynamics of Duchamp’s and Man Ray’s relationship.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hopkins, Professor David
Authors: Hopkins, D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Journal Name:Art History
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1467-8365
Published Online:23 December 2003

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