• print • Sept/Oct/Nov 2007

    RUDELY MECHANICAL

    “Many people answer with ‘Yes, but . . .’” wrote Marcel Duchamp in 1954, in a tribute to his great friend Picabia, who had died the year before. “With Francis it was always: ‘No, because . . .’” Inventor of the “machinist painting” and carrier of the Dada virus to New York and Paris, Picabia was editor of the journal 391 and author of numerous books of poetry and prose, along with manifestos, aphorisms, and scenarios for ballets and films. He impressed everyone who met him with a cocksure nihilism. “Anybody called Francis is elegant, unbalanced, and intelligent,” Gertrude Stein opined. Tristan

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