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Release: September 1, 2020

STEFAN BANZ
MORTON L. SCHAMBERG: GOD

Les Éditions KMD, n° 25: English, 222 pages, 43 illustrations in black-and-white and in color.
Distributed by Les Presses du reel, Dijon, in digital form on their website: www.lespressesdureel.com

God is a well-known assemblage from 1917 by Morton L. Schamberg, an artist who is largely forgotten today and who died of the Spanish flu just about one year after it was created, at the age of 37. The work itself probably only survived because it somehow found its way into the famous collection of Louise and Walter Arensberg and thus finally came into the possession of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1954, where it was exhibited for the very first time that same year. Schamberg’s authorship of this unusual object, which consists of a drain pipe screwed onto a miter box, was only questioned when the well-known Dada scholar Francis M. Naumann suddenly speculated in 1994 in his book classic New York Dada 1915–23 that this readymade, as Marcel Duchamp called it, was more a work of Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven than one of Morton L. Schamberg. In doing so, he had brought a whole phalanx of feminist forces to the scene, who also took his arguments as a starting point to deny Marcel Duchamp the authorship of his most famous readymade Fountain by Richard Mutt and at the same time tried with a great deal of imagination to ascribe this to the Baroness as well. The present study now attempts to put the authorship of God back into perspective with the help of new sources and to explain why this is actually a work by Morton L. Schamberg.


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