DUCHAMP’S SOCKS is an online journal that emerges out of THE EXHIBITIONIST, a serial publication that existed from 2010 to 2017 and focused on curating, exhibition making as a creative practice, and the history of exhibitions.
DUCHAMP’S SOCKS broadens and updates the editorial approach of THE EXHIBITIONIST: assessments of art and exhibitions continue to be important anchors, yet also now included are analyses of critical and creative writing, architecture, film, theater, and other cultural arenas.
DUCHAMP’S SOCKS aspires to treat culture not only as food for critical thought but as something to consciously create. The journal embraces a wide, interdisciplinary viewpoint that regards cultural production not as isolated into disengaged fields, but as a deeply intermeshed aspect of human creativity. It moves away from conversations around curatorial practice per se and instead leverages curatorial ideas and methodologies as prisms through which to spur more expansive conversations around culture at large.
DUCHAMP’S SOCKS strives to be global, inclusive, and anti-authoritarian, with an editorial structure that likewise reflects this. It dispenses with an editor in chief and is guided by an editorial team supported by a board and a group of advisors.
The journal’s name is an homage to the French American artist Marcel Duchamp, known for his irreverent sense of humor, absurdist wit, and often surreal outlook on life. Specifically, it refers to one of the artist’s earliest readymades, Chaussettes (Socks), made in 1912 after a long day of hiking with two friends, the painter Francis Picabia and the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. They were staying in a small inn in France’s Jura Mountains, and the work was destroyed by the innkeeper’s wife, Anna Pillage, the same day it was made. While Duchamp and Picabia were in the bathtub playing chess, she found the worn-out socks in a corner of Duchamp’s room and threw them out. According to an oral account by Apollinaire, Duchamp was so upset about the loss of his artwork that he never spoke of socks—or Socks—again in his life, and he walked the five hundred kilometers back to Paris barefoot.
Just when we thought we knew everything there is to know about a particular subject—for instance, the life and work of the arguably most influential artist of the twentieth century—a mysterious pair of socks appear. In other words, the journal aims to look for the unexpected in what we assume is familiar. Some stories are hidden in plain sight. Others are stuck in the cracks and interstices of culture. The journal will pry up stones on well-trodden paths to reveal the surprising, the shocking, the humorous, the poetic, the exciting, the absurd.