New York

Neke Carson

Helander Gallery

The name of Marcel Duchamp drops out of the mouths of so many unimaginative artists as an excuse for their pseudo-Dada, neo-readymade objets d’art that it’s hard even to like Duchamp anymore. As T. S. Eliot said, every new work of art changes every prior work by making us perceive it differently, and so Duchamp seems weakened when you’re forced to see him through the veil of dull disciples who’ve trivialized and exhausted what were once great ideas. But then there’s an artist like Neke Carson, who doesn’t appear to have any particular thing for Duchamp, yet picks up his baton and runs another hundred yards with it. Rather than produce work that’s academically Duchampian, Carson makes the grand master himself seem academic: his heterogeneous output makes Duchamp look narrow, his fervor makes him look sedate, his humor makes him look horribly dry.

In 1966, Carson opened for Janis Joplin, in

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