new-york

George Maciunas, Foot in Shoe, 1973–77, offset print on paper, 10 1/2 x 8 1/2". From “Wooster Enterprises.”

Wooster Enterprises

Churner and Churner

George Maciunas, Foot in Shoe, 1973–77, offset print on paper, 10 1/2 x 8 1/2". From “Wooster Enterprises.”

It’s a pathetic scene. Painful, even. In 1930s Paris, Marcel Duchamp hawks his Rotoreliefs from a booth at the Inventors’ Fair. “Like a smiling salesgirl,” Henri-Pierre Roché would recall. Obviously, Duchamp won’t be the last artist to test the strategic and commercial potential of modeling artwork as everyday retail merchandise. The cash register rings through Claes Oldenburg’s “The Store,” 1961, Keith Haring’s 1986–2005 Pop Shop, Christine Hill’s Volksboutique, 1996–, and Superflex’s Guaraná Power, 2004– (to say nothing of certain Louis Vuitton collaborations). But what a disheartening precedent. Here Duchamp fashions himself as entrepreneur—and not a single sale.

Skip to 1977, to the annual National Stationery Show in New York. Jaime Davidovich occupies the single chair at a booth draped in black and blandly labeled “Wooster Enterprises,” a monochrome blip among pastel

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the November 2012 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.