Marcel Broodthaers Sells MoMA

THE DAILY PIC: At Alden Projects, the Belgian flogs his 'Museum of Modern Art'.


THE DAILY PIC (#1532): Yesterday, I made the argument(-ette) that the art of Marcel Broodthaers included almost everything he got up to, not just the “art objects” he made. Today’s Pic, again from the comprehensive show of Broodthaersian documents at Alden Projects in New York, shows him packaging-up that “almost everything” and putting it onto the market.

The document was printed in the catalog for the 1971 Cologne art fair, and announces that Broodthaers is selling his entire (and purely fictional) Museum of Modern Art, which had “opened” (without building, collection or staff – except him) in 1968. The inclusion of the announcement in a fair catalog – it functions as an ad for Galerie Michael Werner, whose other artists are listed in its margin – makes clear that it stands as, or for, a commodified work of art. But it’s worth noticing one other thing: The sale is announced as “pour cause de faillite” – “by reason of bankruptcy” – which has a plangent note that always underlays even Broodthaers’s most playful moments. It’s clear that he finds the normal institutions of art, including museums and traditional objects, to be pretty much bankrupt. Which doesn’t mean he can’t turn that failure into art and sell it.

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