Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Duchamp and the Aesthetics of Chance Art as Experiment by Herbert Molderings

Duchamp and the Aesthetics of Chance Art as Experiment

Part of the Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts Series


Duchamp and the Aesthetics of Chance Art as Experiment by Herbert Molderings

Marcel Duchamp is often viewed as an artist-engineer-scientist, a kind of rationalist who relied heavily on the ideas of the French mathematician and philosopher Henri Poincare. Yet a complete portrait of Duchamp and his multiple influences draws a different picture. In his 3 Standard Stoppages (1913-1914), a work that uses chance as an artistic medium, we see how far Duchamp subverted scientism in favor of a radical individualistic aesthetic and experimental vision. Unlike the Dadaists, Duchamp did more than dismiss or negate the authority of science. He pushed scientific rationalism to the point where its claims broke down and alternative truths were allowed to emerge. With humor and irony, Duchamp undertook a method of artistic research, reflection, and visual thought that focused less on beauty than on the notion of the possible. He became a passionate advocate of the power of invention and thinking things that had never been thought before. The 3 Standard Stoppages is the ultimate realization of the play between chance and dimension, visibility and invisibility, high and low art, and art and anti-art. Situating Duchamp firmly within the literature and philosophy of his time, Herbert Molderings recaptures the spirit of a frequently misread artist-and his thrilling aesthetic of chance.


...charming, erudite, and academically thorough volume... Cerise Press

About the Author

Herbert Molderings is a freelance scholar and professor of art history at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. The author of eleven books, he specializes in the history of modern and contemporary art, European photography of the twentieth century, and the works of Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and Umbo. Molderings is a former fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin and a former director of a research program at the Centre allemand d'histoire de l'art in Paris. He divides his time beween Cologne and Paris. John Brogden lives in Dortmund, Germany, and specializes in the translation of art historical subjects.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

10th May 2010


Herbert Molderings

More books by Herbert Molderings
Author 'Like for Like'


Columbia University Press


240 pages


Philosophy: aesthetics
History of art & design styles: from c 1900 -



I love Lovereading because of its ability to connect people that love books & unite them in a friendly, stimulating & interesting community.

Megan Olwen William

I love 'try before you buy' extracts. I love the wide range of authors & genres. I love the author info. I love books!

Judi Davies

It has opened my eyes to different authors and genres. Just log on and try, you will be surprised and not want for reading material again.

Jocelyn Garvey

Lovereading is a wonderful way to expand my literary horizons, discover inspiring authors & get the chance to read new novels first. #loveit

Zarina de Ruiter

Lovereading is not only an amazing site, but it's one of my very favourites. It's like visiting a fascinating bookstore, but better.

Rebecca Jayne Barrett

Because of Lovereading I have broadened my reading horizons with some really great books that I probably would never have chosen myself.

Susan Walsh

If you love reading, then you'll love Lovereading! Full of tips & info for every discerning reader.

Lynne Rapson

Insightful reader reviews and unbiased recommendations. I don't know how I chose books before Lovereading! An essential for all book lovers.

Sarah Harper