• MoMA, Floor 5, 508 The David Geffen Wing

In 1913, Marcel Duchamp dropped three one-meter-long pieces of thread onto three canvases, letting them fall as they may. The result was 3 Standard Stoppages, described by Duchamp as an “experiment . . . made . . . to imprison and preserve forms obtained through chance.” That same year, he composed Erratum Musical (heard playing in this gallery) by drawing music notes from a hat.

Duchamp and many of the other artists with works on view were associated with Dada, a movement that embraced chance operations, irreverent humor, and the absurd to critique not only the social, political, and cultural structures they held responsible for World War I, but also rational thought itself. By opening art up to accident, randomness, and contingency, Duchamp and his peers also challenged centuries of thinking about artistic agency. Inspired by their example, the works and text panel in this gallery are installed in a sequence from 0 to 21 that was randomly generated by drawing images of each from a bag.

26 works online

Artists

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

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MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

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Feedback

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