The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) -Marcel Duchamp at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
after years of only reading about or seeing images of the duchamp gallery at the philadelphia museum of art,
i finally visited it on a winter’s day in the early 2000’s.
the room was sort of arranged in chronological order.
by the time i stood in front of duchamp’s “sex objects” my thoughts were spinning and i could feel myself getting dizzy.
to my left there was the empty room with the old spanish door that is “étant donnés”
i walked up to the peepholes in the door slowly. i had seen in photographs what i was about to see in real life.
but nothing prepared me for the feeling this work was about to ”give” me.
the landscape of the work seemed to glow,
the open legs of the torso laying in the weeds was cracked and had aged (like so many of duchamp’s pieces in the gallery).
i felt as though there was a hand on the back of my shirt collar and another hand on the back waist of my trousers.
i honestly felt like i was about to faint so i left the room and went straight into the adjacent brancusi gallery next door.
looking around in the brancusi room i had the distinct feeling that i had been forcibly tossed into another world.
i began to remove layers of my clothes down to my trousers and a t-shirt.
i was literally breathless like i was having an asthma attack.
the rest of my party found me, confused and breathing heavy in the corner of brancusi’s strange world.
i was so glad to see them.
my friends laughed at me, and then kindly gathered me and my discarded outer wear up and we exited the gallery and made our way home.
i still don’t know what actually happened - perhaps i was just overwhelmed by seeing something in person that had only existed in my head.
my preferred explanation has something to do with mysticism and the strange power of charged objects.
i would love to think that there was a mona lisa smile on both ghost faces of duchamp and his old friend brancusi.
"here comes one" duchamp says with a wink
"off you go"