PRINT October 1976

A Conspiracy of Bachelors

HARALD SZEEMANN, THE FORMER DIRECTOR of the Kunsthalle in Bern and head of the last Documenta, has organized an exhibition called “The Bachelors’ Machines,” which is presently on tour in Europe. The title is taken from Duchamp’s designation for the bottom half of his Large Glass, in which nine cylindrical, machinelike “bachelors” work with other forms to build a closed system for the production, conveyance, and release of sexual energy (sperm) into the top part of the work, the “bride’s domain.”

Bachelors’ machines are statements on the relationship between the sexes and on the male’s aspiration for something beyond himself; masturbation and artistic creation are shown to be activities that work like machines. The machines Szeemann has collected for his exhibition symbolize the futility, lack of function, and incomprehensibility alluded to by Duchamp’s ensemble.

The present exhibition aims

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