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Brian O'Doherty, b.1928, Patrick Ireland, b.1972

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
Dimensions49 x 62 cm Framed: 48.5 x 61 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Donation, Joseph Masheck, 1991
Item NumberIMMA.85
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, 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 b.1928

Brian O’Doherty was born in Ireland and is now based in New York. When he left Dublin in 1957, O’Doherty was a qualified medical doctor and emerging artist, and is now renowned as an artist, writer, critic, television host, filmmaker and educator.
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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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