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Yves Saint Laurent's Duchamp Bottle on Display

Marcel Duchamp’s artistic message in a bottle, “Belle Haleine: Eau de Voilette, 1921,” will be on display at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie.

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MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE: It promises to be both the shortest – and on a non-stop hourly basis – the longest exhibit at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie. Marcel Duchamp’s artistic message in a bottle, “Belle Haleine: Eau de Voilette, 1921,” will be on display in the upper hall of the museum for a mere three days starting Thursday at midnight for 72 hours, around the clock. As proud owners of Duchamp’s last existing “assisted ready-made,” Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge had that private pleasure for some years. The work was sold at auction in 2009 for the even more proud price of 7.9 million euros, or $10.8 million at current exchange rates, and this is its first public viewing since then. The Dadaist Duchamp began appropriating ready made objects in the first decade of the 20th century, turning objects like a porcelain white urinal into “art” simply by choosing and then exhibiting them. “Belle Haleine,” on the other hand, is considered “assisted” because Duchamp altered the original object – a bottle of the Parisian Rigaud Company’s best selling 1915 perfume “Un air embaumé.”

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