Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of The Blind Man, No. 2 38386

Artists

Marcel Duchamp, Henri Pierre Roché, and Beatrice Wood ; Marcel Duchamp (1887 - 1968); Henry Rocher (Prussia, 1824 - 1887); Beatrice Wood (Beatrice Beato Wood) (San Francisco, CA, 3/3/1893 - 3/12/1998, Ojai, CA)

Title

The Blind Man, No. 2

Creation Date

May 1917

Dimensions

11 x 8 1/16 in. (28 x 20.5 cm)

Object Type

book/manuscript

Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

Volume 2, 16 pages

Credit Line

Museum Purchase in collaboration with the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections and Archives: Barbara Cooney Porter Fund, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund, Bowdoin College Museum of Art; The Philip Conway Beam Endowment Fund, Bowdoin College Museum of Art; and The Stones-Pickard Special Editions Book Fund, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library

Copyright

This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

2019.49.2
The Blind Man, published in 1917 by Marcel Duchamp, Henri Pierre Roché, and Beatrice Wood, exemplified the spirit of “Dadaism,” which boldly questioned the legitimacy of traditional political and aesthetic hierarchies with seemingly “absurd” artistic gestures. While the association of a sightless individual with a visual arts magazine—a connection played up by Al Frueh in the drawing used on the first issue’s cover—was typically “dada,” the title also alluded to a “second sight” that renders apparent truths obfuscated by the distractions of the physical world. Although only two issues of the journal appeared, The Blind Man proved extremely influential. Its first issue publicized the Society of Independent’s inaugural exhibition, intended to encourage avant-garde art by guaranteeing that any artist paying the required fee could show their work. Far from celebrating the pioneering exhibition, however, the second issue, which featured Marcel Duchamp’s Chocolate Grinder (1914) on the cover, protested its hypocritical exclusion of the revolutionary artwork, Fountain (1917), consisting of a urinal presented on its back and signed “R. Mutt,” a pseudonym for Duchamp. The enduring significance of this publication to multiple generations is suggested by the provenance of the rare first volume, which was given by Roché to the scholar Michel Sanouillet, who worked directly with Marcel Duchamp to compile the first edition of the artist’s writings, Marchand du Sel (1959), and by him to Roger L. Conover, former Executive Editor at MIT Press.

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