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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Valise of the Moment

As most architects know – even in today's digital age – an integral part of getting a job is a print portfolio. When it came time for me to look for a job right after graduating from architecture school, I modeled my portfolio on Marcel Duchamp's famous "Boîte-en-valise" (Box in a Valise), which the artist assembled in the late 1930s as a suitcase with "the sum of his artistic work." It included miniatures of Fountain, Nude Descending a Staircase and Large Glass, among other works. I loved the way it opened, sat upright, and had its contents spill out. I tried to make my portfolio a similar voyage of discovery, though I wasn't nearly as successful in terms of craft and mechanics (nevertheless, it did help me get me a job fairly quickly).

I bring this up now because earlier this week I learned the exciting news that publisher Walther König is putting out a reproduction of the Box in a Valise in a limited edition of 1,500 copies – five times as many copies than Duchamp made.

According to US distributor Artbook:
This is the first ever reinterpretation of the legendary book-object, conceptualized by French artist Mathieu Mercier and now available to a broader audience. At once a work in and of itself, and a reproduction in the Duchampian spirit, this miniature museum contains 69 reproductions of Duchamp's most celebrated creations, including the famous "Fountain," "Nude Descending a Staircase" and the "Large Glass." Mercier has reproduced the bulk of the contents of Duchamp's original box in paper form, designing everything to scale. Playful and accessible, the "Boîte" reflects Duchamp's desire to display his works outside the museum and gallery system.

The $195 Box in a Valise will be released in the US on February 23, 2016, though those excited as me can pre-order it at Amazon:


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