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Brian O'Doherty, 1928–2022, Patrick Ireland, 1972–2008

Drawing for Portrait of Marcel Duchamp Study for Duchamp Portrait first lead (after cardiogram taken as physician)1966

When Brian O’Doherty created Marcel Duchamp’s portrait in the form of a recording of his heartbeat, he not only paid tribute to a friend and one of the most influential figures of late twentieth century art, but did so in a manner that typified those changes in our perception of art which the ‘sitter’ did so much to bring about: issues of personal identity; time and consciousness; definitions of art; and the subversion of the cult of artistic genius.

O’Doherty, himself as a pioneer of Conceptual art, produced a portrait that is the first of its kind. With all the irony and wit that Duchamp himself appreciated, it was destined to outlive its subject once the artist had ‘animated’ the recording with oscilloscopes. Here was a new and unique kind of portrait, which was a concept of a portrait which ‘represented’ a human being whose identity we could only ascertain by its title. It could be appreciated not only by the eye but also by the ear and the mind. After it was finished Duchamp thanked the artist “from the bottom of [his] heart”*. This drawing is one of an eighteen-part series consisting of oscilloscopes, studies and drawings.

*Quotations from “Duchamp’s Cardiogram” by Brian O’Doherty, ‘Art and Artists, Volume 1, No. 4’, 1966.

MediumPencil on paper
Dimensions Unframed, 49 x 62 cm
Framed, 48.5 x 61 cm
Unframed, 49 x 62 cm
Framed, 48.5 x 61 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Donation, Joseph Masheck, 1991
Item NumberIMMA.85
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
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Image Caption
Brian O'Doherty, Patrick Ireland, Drawing for Portrait of Marcel Duchamp Study for Duchamp Portrait first lead (after cardiogram taken as physician), 1966, Pencil on paper, Unframed, 49 x 62 cm|Framed, 48.5 x 61 cm|Unframed, 49 x 62 cm|Framed, 48.5 x 61 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Donation, Joseph Masheck, 1991

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

Brian O'Doherty

Brian O'Doherty 1928–2022

Brian O’Doherty was born in Ireland and moved to New York in 1957. A qualified medical doctor, O’Doherty also became renowned as an artist, writer, television host, and educator. Consistently exploring the multiple nature of identity, he adopted various personae, most notably 'Patrick Ireland', who was buried at IMMA in 2008. Major retrospectives of O’Doherty/Ireland’s work were held at the National Museum of American Art, The Elvehjem Museum of Art, The Butler Institute of American Art (1994), Dublin City Gallery, the Hugh Lane and the Grey Art Gallery, New York.

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Patrick Ireland

Patrick Ireland 1972–2008

During the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1972, Brian O'Doherty, in a performance before 30 invited witnesses and assisted by artists Robert Ballagh and Brian King, undertook to sign his artworks Patrick Ireland 'until such time as the British military presence is removed from Northern Ireland'. After 36 years of making art as Patrick Ireland, O'Doherty reclaimed his birth name with the symbolic burial of his alter ego in the grounds of IMMA on the afternoon of Tuesday 20 May 2008.
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