Playing with Earth and Sky reveals the significance astronomy, geography, and aviation had for Marcel Duchamp—widely regarded as the most influential artist of the past fifty years. Duchamp transformed modern art by abandoning unique art objects in favor of experiences that could be both embodied and cerebral. This illuminating study offers new interpretations of Duchamp’s momentous works, from readymades to the early performance art of shaving a comet in his hair. It demonstrates how the immersive spaces and narrative environments of popular science, from museums to the modern planetarium, prepared paths for Duchamp’s nonretinal art. By situating Duchamp’s career within the transatlantic cultural contexts of Dadaism and Surrealism, this book enriches contemporary debates about the historical relationship between art and science.
The starry title on the cover is set in Sélavy, “a dotted display typeface loosely based on the punched-out caps on Marcel Duchamp’s 1934 ‘Green Box’”, created by Nina Stössinger and freely available from Type Brut. Sélavy is also used for drop caps and chapter numbers in the interior, and echoed in the dotted lines. The text typeface is Fred Smeijers’ Fresco, with its sans-serif companion Fresco Sans used for subheadings, running heads, and captions.