L.H.O.O.Q.

Christie's
Apr 16, 2014 7:42PM

“The meaning of words changes every 50 years.”                - Marcel Duchamp, interviewed by Jean Antoine in The Art Newspaper, 1966.

The use of written language within art has been one of the defining factors in 20th century avant-garde movements such as Cubism, Surrealism, and Dada, which found text to be at the heart of unlocking the two-dimensional surface of art. Marcel Duchamp, known for his marriage of text and art, exemplified the power of wordplay.

This month Christie’s New York will feature one of Duchamp’s most celebrated prints, titled, L.H.O.O.Qin the Prints and Multiples sale. The artist created the work in 1964, and it functions as a re-representation of the famous pun Duchamp inscribed on a reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa years earlier. While the work is interpreted in many ways, Duchamp’s desecration of a Renaissance masterpiece illustrates the power of the prankster in reinterpreting works of art.

The Tate Modern explains the development of text-based works in the post-war period as, “artists [expanding] on the trajectory established by their predecessors and the blending and collision between art, music, literature, philosophy, politics and social agendas.”

Along with L.H.O.O.Q., Christie’s will feature works by Ed Ruscha, Robert Indiana, and Bruce Nauman, as well as a variety of prints by other artists.

Prints and Multiples will be on view April 18-22, 2014 at Christie’s New York. The auction will follow on April 23-24, 2014.

Images courtesy of Christie’s.

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