Marcel Duchamp (born: Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp) was a French American painter, sculptor, chess player whose work is associated with Cubism, Dada, and conceptual art. Born: July 28, 1887, Blainville-Crevon, France. Died: October 2, 1968, Paris.
In 1963 Gary visited the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York to see a selection of art from the "1913 Armory Show 50th Anniversary Exhibition". Viewing “The Nude Descending A Staircase No. 2” was a searing experience. It bolstered Gary’s interest in non-objective art strengthening his desire to follow that path.
Working at the Philadelphia Museum Education Department in 1971 gave Gary the opportunity to enhance his personal interest in Marcel Duchamp. The largest collection of Marcel Duchamp’s work in a public museum, Gary was able to focus on the genius of Duchamp’s creativity.
In 1912 Duchamp said: “Art or anti-art?” was the question I asked when I returned from Munich in 1912 and decided to abandon pure painting or painting for its own sake. I thought of introducing elements alien to painting as the only way out of a pictorial and chromatic dead end. The benefit of this statement to Gary is that one should question the concept behind what one makes as art. Experience and physical beauty are not enough anymore as it has been done previously. It is the expansion of the definition of art that is implied.
Gary is grateful for the freedom in that implication, but disagrees believing that art can include the expression of beauty and/or emotion as well as concept. Speaking of the need for concept with Myron Stout, Myron stated simply “no idea is a concept’. Gary believes that retinal art lives. It is only with eyes that one can see Duchamp's last sculpture. In secret, for the last 20 years of his life, Duchamp created a mixed media masterpiece hidden behind a barn door. Visible only by looking through two eye holes in the door can one see the gift Duchamp has created for a voyeur’s eyes and brain.