Sunday, August 4, 2013

An (in)Appropriate Response to Marcel Duchamp's Large Glass, or, The Best Way to Get Arrested in Philadelphia

Plan for a never-to-be-performed performative criticism of Marcel Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare By her Bachelors, Even (Large Glass), 1915-23:

1. If one critic has a vagina, he or she must enlist a penised collaborator--or vice versa.

2. The anatomically female critic dresses in a black Fred Astaire tux, tails and top hat (cane optional, black leather tap shoes required); the anat. male critic wears a Dale Evans cowgirl blouse, a very short tennis skirt, black stockings with garter belt, stiletto heels, and a multicolored feather boa.

3. Slowly and arm-in-arm, both critics walk backwards up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, pausing only to hurl choice Norwegian profanities at running Rocky imitators.

4. Walking side-by-side and in step, the critics proceed to the gallery where Marcel Duchamp's Large Glass (hereinafter TBSBBHBE(LG)) is displayed.

5. The critics position themselves on opposite sides of the artwork (which is, after all, a large window) and stand facing each other through TBSBBHBE(LG). They stand motionless and stare at each other for two minutes and thirty-four seconds.

6. After two minutes and thirty-five seconds, the anat. female critic says, "Every woman walking her dog will vomit semen along the clothesline lined with the soiled handkerchiefs of masturbating kangaroos."

7. The anat. male critic immediately replies, "And she will have a hot ass." He then flips up his skirt and moons the ceiling-mounted security camera.

8. At exactly three minutes, both critics rush simultaneously toward TBSBBHBE(LG) and, to the accompaniment of shrieking museum alarms and iphone-wielding visitors, they press their bodies against TBSBBHBE(LG), attempting to kiss and caress each other through the glass.

9. The anat. female critic unzips, quotes Cleavon Little, "Excuse me while I whip this out," and whips out a pale plastic dildo harnessed to her crotch. She presses the dildo against TBSBBHBE(LG) while the anat. male critic raises his skirt and attempts to hump the dildo through the glass while imitating the overwrought coital cries of hardcore pornstars.

10. Both critics will be wrestled to the ground by museum security.

11. Both critics will bring plenty of bail money, for neither critic will relish the prospect of doing Philly jail time in these costumes.

(Hopefully unnecessary disclaimer: Since the actual performance of this criticism might damage an irreplaceable work of art, steps 8-11 must remain a work of language, a purely conceptual action. Performative criticism is a new and outrageous way of thinking about art, not an excuse for damaging it. Don't try this at home. And for dog's sake don't try it at the museum. You'll only get yourself tazed.)

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