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The bride and the bachelors : five masters of the avant garde, Duchamp, Tinguely, Cage, Rauschenberg, Cunningham
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The bride and the bachelors : five masters of the avant garde, Duchamp, Tinguely, Cage, Rauschenberg, Cunningham

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  182 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 18th 1976 by New York : Penguin Books (first published May 3rd 1965)
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Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
This was an enjoyable read; a light, but still informative look at the lives and works of 5 important modern artists. These were originally published as New Yorker pieces in the 1960s, and they are well-written and informative, but with a nice sampling of anecdotes and no heavy helpings of theory or criticism.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Duchamp piece and I can see why many people are so fascinated with him. He was a brilliant conceptual artist - the first conceptual artist? - and an enigmatic figu
Peter Landau
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot has changed in 50 years, as THE BRIDE AND THE BACHELORS shows. Not that this was the point when Calvin Tomkins was writing in the 1960s. He published these five profiles of avant-garde masters — Duchamp, Tinguely, Cage, Rauschenberg and Cunningham — who all left modernism behind for something weirder. Their off-road journeys remain strange and inspiring even after all these years. But it’s the ideas that drove them that I kept coming back to, not as much the use of chance or erasing the li ...more
Jan 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Calvin Tomkins' book The Bride and the Bachelors takes its name from Marcel Duchamp's collage on glass The Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, a work that was apparently well-known in 1965 when this book was first published. The book is very much a document of its time, in all the right ways: it captures the spirit of the avant garde movement, in the visual and performing arts, without getting bogged down in trivial gossip or personalities. The five artists profiled--Duchamp, sculptor Jean Tin ...more
Mar 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: intrepidessays
The book contains five biographical chapters on the art and lives of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Jean Tinguely, Robert Rauschenberg and Merce Cunningham. So far, I've read Duchamp and part of Cage, and I'm starting to realize that these artists construct their lives in the same way that they construct their art, by following absurd and singular internal logic. Duchamp makes elaborate turntable gadgets and spends years painting on mirrors. Then he gives up art abruptly to play chess and cheat at r ...more
Douglas Gorney
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While Cage, Rauschenberg, Tinguely et al might not be cutting-edge circa 2014, their influence on contemporary art is unavoidable. Writing as and when he did, Tomkins was able to convey a sense of the wonderful newness of their moment, the earnest sense of possibility as yet unfrieghted by all of the deadening *import* successive generations of art critics have piled on.

Witty, lapidary prose in the best New Yorker style. For me a top-five book, fiction or non-fiction.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Calvin Tomkins is HIGHLY recommended for any of his books on Art and/ or Art Criticism. This book is a concise distillation of 5 very important 20th century artists. These artists--strange, obsessed, mysteriously driven often support each other though they may not share similar backgrounds or mediums. I, for one among a handful, find their efforts enriching and inspiring.
Mar 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Read about how Yves Tinguely's art is much cooler than Duchamp. For example, while Duchamp made the "Large Glass", Tinguely made an art machine that painted an enormous roll of paper hooked up to a stationary bicycle that shot the painted paper out into the audience as Tinguely pedaled.
Oct 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
I didn't actually read the entire book, just the parts on Duchamp, Tinguely, and Rauschenberg. Ting-a-ling.
Ben Shear
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
only read duchamp & cage sections, but well written and "opened" up the way i think about art.
Jun 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Elatia by: aaron
Evan Cordes
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Great great overview of all five artists represented.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The book is a little dated, but the profiles are excellent. The overlapping careers of these artists gives a true sense of what modernism was in the middle of the twentieth century.
Andreas Brændhaugen
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Just the right amount of density for a book about art history. Tomkins brought me deeper inside the artist's brain than any other historian I've read.
Ginger Markley
Feb 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Duchamp, Tinguely, Cage, Rauschenberg, Cunningham. Book focuses on the artists' lives rather than solely on their artwork. Concise yet seemingly thorough.
Sep 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book made me love Marcel Duchamp.
Apr 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
an interesting comparison of modern artists including cage, tinguely, and duchamp. very approachable even for the novice academic.
Jan 15, 2008 added it
Great book and should be read by everyone who wants to understand 5 important 20th century figures
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you plan on being an artist and you don't read this book then you have dropped at least fifty points on the art-o-meter.
Jaclyn Jean
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Seminal work of art criticism. Must-read for anyone studying art for school or personal interest.
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The gold star standard for profiles on artists of this era. Fantastic.
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Dec 27, 2014
Asia Chan
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Aug 20, 2013
Simon Chung
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Sep 15, 2016
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May 03, 2010
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Jun 23, 2008
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Dec 11, 2012
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Jul 30, 2014
Rick Lopez
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Jul 24, 2014
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Calvin Tomkins has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1960. He wrote his first fiction piece for the magazine in 1958, and his first fact piece in 1962. His many Profile subjects have included Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Philip Johnson, Julia Child, Georgia O’Keeffe, Leo Castelli, Frank Stella, Carmel Snow, Christo and Jeanne-Clau ...more
More about Calvin Tomkins...

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