Marcel Duchamp in Las Vegas

On the occasion of Marcel Duchamp’s retrospective at the Pasadena Museum of Art in 1963 (organized by Walter Hopps), artist and art dealer William Copley organized a trip to Las Vegas for Duchamp and a small group of friends. Betty Asher, one of the group, described the trip in an interview for the Archives of American Art in 1980:

“Bill Copley was out here. Bill was a longtime friend of Marcel’s, and he wanted to take him to Las Vegas because Marcel Duchamp had never been there and he thought it was just the sort of place that he would love, that it would fit into his kind of thinking and his aesthetic. So Bill invited Walter and Richard Hamilton, who was out here for the opening of the show, and Betty and Monte Factor and me to go with the Duchamps …. At dinner we went to the Stardust and they have the follies or something, a girlie theater … the picture is a result of one of those girls in short skirts coming around with a big camera to take pictures. And just as she was about to click, I put my arm around Marcel, my fingertips very gingerly touched his shoulder because I didn’t want him to know that I was doing this, so I have this nice picture of Marcel with my arm around him.”

You can read Betty’s full account of the trip—and more about her life as an art collector, LACMA employee, and art dealer in Los Angeles—here.

Image: Stardust Hotel, Las Vegas, 1963. Seated from left to right are Teeny Duchamp, Richard Hamilton, Betty Factor, William Copley, Monte Factor, Walter Hopps, Betty Asher, and Marcel Duchamp.