1967 Alison Knowles

Once she had the invitation to go to tea. She arrived at his door with eleven color swatches in her attaché case and the kindest smile on her face. She found a thin cloud of smoke floating above the open door; in no time the room was filled with people. Hands holding trays went high atop their heads. She kept herself in constant movement. She noted, order had become play.
So now about the color swatch: it was for him to select exactly the hue or tint of red-orange and blue that he wanted to have for the print that she was going to silkscreen later. Eleven times she had made a red circle on black Color-aid paper but in different intensities and each time overlapped it with a blue. There was Torch Red, Flame, Bittersweet. He chose one. The color swatch went on the windowsill and the ones he had not selected went back into her case. She thought, even though all is proceeding as foreseen, there must have been an irregularity somewhere along the way.
So the tea party proceeded and at some point his wife got up to go to the window, perhaps she wanted to open it. She looked down onto the windowsill and there was the color swatch, left out, designating his choice. She held it up and said, “When did you do this?” He got up from the table, walked over to the window, toward the fluttering paper and said, “Give me a pencil.” He signed the color swatch. He put the pencil down. After all he did not return to the table as he had left for the window.
Here the curtain falls vertically and the question is now, what is that? Is that a work of art? Is that something that helps in the methodology of doing the print? Is it one of his numerous rounds acted out in the moment?
The artifacts, in their arrangement, as they stood, showed a general affinity of opinions. They seemed neither unsettling nor distracting. Only the attaché case felt unnaturally heavy as she picked it up on the way out. Everything seemed fine. Nothing is wrong. And in the end there will be time.

Above: 10th Street, New York, 1967. Alison Knowles and Marcel Duchamp looking at color swatches, produced in connection with the silkscreen edition accompanying the cooperation on the Emmett Williams publication Sweethearts with Something Else Press in 1967.