Marcel Duchamp, Rrose Selavy, Mona Lisa, and Me

One of the biggest influences on my project is Marcel Duchamp and his alter ego Rrose Selavy.  

Duchamp had this idea that he could take the identity and meaning of anything and make it over.  He did this by grabbing mass produced ephemera like his L.H.O.O.Q., a cheap postcard-sized reproduction of the Mona Lisa, upon which Duchamp drew a mustache and a goatee. The "readymade" done in 1919, is one of the most well known act of degrading a famous work of art. The title when pronounced in French, puns the frase "Elle a chaud au cul", translating colloquially in "She has a hot ass". 

In essence he was developing his use of the "ready made" object and his transforming of the meaning of that object.  Like a modern day Madonna, "touched by. . ." he developed an alter ego which was a ready made transformation of himself with the help of his photographer friend Man Ray.  He grabbed some clothing from a friend, put himself in drag, and had Man Ray photograph himself.  A sort of "renovated reputation"  whose name was a play on the phrase, “Eros, c’est la vie”. 

I'm trying to do something kind of similar in my own way with found objects and photographs.  For example "Chastidy Beldt" came about after I started finding old photobooth portraits and making sketches of the.  I wondered who she was so I put her on my blog and asked people to write short stories about her in exchange for the drawing.

The story Michael Gray came up with inspired me to actually make a painting of her in which I included some ready made objects, such as some sheet music and a frame I found from a thrift store.

 Here she is 10"x8" oil on masonite with found sheet music.  
Read her story here:

Renovated Reputations is the result of an internet blogging project in which paintings and assemblages based on vintage and antique vernacular photography are the inspiration for short fiction.

The impetus for this project is based in a solo show of paintings in I am having at ArtHaus Gallery in San Francisco in April through June 25th 2011. 

The show is called
Renovated Reputations: Paintings and Fiction inspired by Vintage Portrait Photographs.
at ArtHaus 411 Brannan Street  San Francisco, CA  94107

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  1. Good Work
    Marcel Duchamp: Nude Descending a Staircase

    Maybe you will want to see my ?
    Computer Mirror Image: "THE BLUE BUTTERFLY IS 33YO NOW"

    Watch video

  2. Nice vid on your flickr page. Thanks for your comment and the link.

  3. I really like what you've written here.

    When I was real young and first saw that particular photograph of Rrose Selavy- beyond the initial shock of "ohmygod a man in drag"- it was really burnt in my mind. I really kindof became fixated on having some other- more fabulous- personality.
    Now that I'm older and was recently diagnosed with major depressive disorder, I completely understand the want/need to have a more glamorous creative lifestyle than what really exists.
    I can only hope that someday someone finds a photograph of me and rewrites MY history. :)