PRINT May 1976

Marcel Broodthaers' Throw of the Dice

“THE MOTION OF HEAVEN AND all it contains has a motion like the motion of reason,” says Plato in his Laws (No. 897). Marcel Broodthaers’ death on the 52nd anniversary of his birth prompted me to reappraise his artistic work in terms of revolutions in time, more specifically in terms of a circle completed by Mallarmé within the Symbolist movement and by Magritte within the Surrealist movement. Broodthaers both subverts and extends Magritte’s principle grounded in “This is not a pipe.” Broodthaers, influenced by Marxism, and possibly Lucacs, wants a work of art to be considered as a phenomenon of reification. The work of art, when viewed as reified, can be judged in tautological terms. I assume him to mean that since labor is evaluated as merchandise, and man-made objects are appraised in mercantile terms, a work of art can be placed in a tautological relation to objects that are not works

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