Daydream Voyeur

I don’t think I can be a native Philadelphian without eventually getting ’round to some of my favorite local hiding spots.  One such dark corner is tucked away in the modern wing of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  I’ve forgotten the exact bragging right, but I think the museum has the largest Duchamp collection outside of Paris.  That may be wrong, but it sounds more exciting than saying the museum has two well-stocked Duchamp rooms….

The first room features several of his ‘greatest hits,’ including one or some of the versions of “Nude Descending a Staircase.”  …And I do like the painting, but I SWOON for Flamejob.  As far as I’m concerned, the painting is little more than the inspiration for the cheekily fabulous, “Naked Girl Falling Down the Stairs.”  Orgy in the museum! 

The second room is dark and empty.  Most people walk in and out without landing on anything of interest, but there is treasure buried out behind the back wall.  The room is bare, save for the door facade at the far end of the room.  Only the very curious (or ritualistic) visitor will bother walking up to the door to find the two little peep holes burrowed in the wood.  Behind, is an illuminated tableau that defies all expectations.  It is, at once, so saccarine and so perverse that there’s nothing to do but laugh. 

And yet, the entire piece, feels like the essence of cinema.  The visitor stumbles through the darkness to find a dirty little light at the end of the tunnel.  The act of watching is so inscribed into the piece that you are hyper-aware of your increasingly sick impulse to look through the peepholes and then look again.  What else is cinema if not a peep show?  So head over to the PMA and feed your curiosity with some deliciously sly art filth.

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