Julian Wasser : Duchamp in Pasadena
@Robert Berman gallery, Santa Monica
through March 26, 2016
A collaboration with Craig Krull gallery this exhibition features never seen before, vintage and rare photographs documenting Duchamp most significant moments in California’s art history .
A second exhibition complement the photographs with iconic pieces by Duchamp revisited by Los Angeles based artist Gregg Gibbs and others. These appropriations of many of the ready mades and conceptual works of art by Marcel Duchamp were displayed in the Pasadena Art Museum during the artist’s first major U.S. retrospective in 1963. At that time Julian Wasser was sent by the Time magazine to cover the event.
Wasser, who began his career as a teenager shooting crime scenes in Washington D.C., was unaware of Duchamp’s significance in the pantheon of art. But known for being in the right place at the right time and catching formative moments in L.A. history with an unmistakable eye, Wasser not only captured the energy of Duchamp’s opening reception, but produced several of the most iconic pictures of the artist ever made. Duchamp posing next to his groundbreaking readymade Bicycle Wheel, originally conceived in 1913 and Duchamp playing chess with a nude Eve Babitz were among the images Wasser took while on assignment. Though TIME never published Wasser’s pictures, the latter photograph, inspired by one of Duchamp’s master paintings Nude Descending a Staircase and the artist’s obsession with chess, went on to become one of the most recognizable staged photographs of the 20th Century.