New York

John Marin, Brooklyn Bridge and Lower New York, 1913, etching and drypoint on paper, 6 3⁄4 × 8 1⁄2". From “New York, New York.”

John Marin, Brooklyn Bridge and Lower New York, 1913, etching and drypoint on paper, 6 3⁄4 × 8 1⁄2". From “New York, New York.”

“New York, New York”

Craig F. Starr Gallery

In a 1965 interview with critic Calvin Tomkins, Marcel Duchamp declared—with characteristically ironic nihilism—that “the only works of art America has given are her plumbing and her bridges.” Well, we know he took to its sanitary installations, as his Fountain, 1917, makes clear. (Having lived in Paris in 1953 and having experienced the holes in the ground that passed for urinals, I perfectly understand the artist’s adoration of Uncle Sam’s pissoirs.) But he never did make (or should I say appropriate?) any bridges. I think he would have admired the elegant lines of New York’s Queensboro Bridge, completed in 1909; but it is unlikely that he would have appreciated the Brooklyn Bridge: Built in 1883, it boasts gothic arches too reminiscent of the gothic cathedrals of Europe, whose art, Duchamp said, was “finished,” “dead.” It is, however, the Brooklyn Bridge, in all its medieval-style

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