The nude

  • art,  modern art,  The nude

    The Nude Ascending

    Ever since she descended Duchamp’s staircase in 1912, the nude has had trouble climbing back up. With one destructive dictatorial gesture, Duchamp undid the beauty she had in antiquity, and, even more nihilistically, her body: Duchamp turned her into a cubo-futurist wind-up toy, a mechanical doll he sardonically manipulated at will. The divine nude of antiquity, her body at once graceful and seductive—an astonishingly seamless merger of the ideal and the real, the transcendent and the erotic, the dignified and the desirable—was gone forever in modernity. No more Aphrodite of Cyrene, ca. 100 B.C., or Aphrodite of Melos, ca. 150-100 B. C., but Archipenko’s 1918 Walking Woman, with a large…