When Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass accidentally cracked while being transported from the Brooklyn Museum, he declared the work finished (perhaps the first modern work of art to be intentionally exhibited broken). Several artists purposefully incorporate cracks in their work, often to denote conflict, decay, or renewal, as with Alberto Burri’s modern use of “craquelure,” the aged cracking of oil painting, to create landscape-like patterns. Other examples include Marcel Broodthaers, who used discarded eggshells in his work to signify birth, and Doris Salcedo, who cracked open the floor of the Tate Turbine Hall as a comment on racism and colonialism.

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