A precedent to DRUGSTORE BEETLE (Sitodrepa Paniceum) is Marcel Duchamp’s boîtes-en-valise – editioned miniature replicas of his work bound in a leather box. Yet, it is not just the similarity between the exhibition in a box – or the exhibition in a box editions – but Duchamp’s own trickster qualities. When the Second World War broke out across Europe, Duchamp found himself (with the help of Varian Fry) dressed as cheese buyer from Paris, sneaking the boxes through Occupied France to Marseilles, to Lisboa, and then across the Atlantic to New York in 1942. As Duchamp’s boxes were disguised as cheese to cross international borders amidst a World War, these come as gifts amidst hard economic times (an economic period in which libraries are most grateful of donations because many face budget cuts). Yet, unlike the story of the Trojan Horse, this gift is not guised as a gift with the sole intention of infiltration. It is given as a true gift – as a sacrifice, with no guarantee of acceptance, and with nothing expected in return.


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