duchamp_JH_photo001_webI am not dead… I am in Herne Bay wrote Marcel Duchamp on a postcard to his friend Max Bergmann at the beginning of August 1913.

Depressed by the reception his painting ‘ Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2′ had received in New York earlier that year, Duchamp was considering giving up art to become a librarian. Until he spent the summer in the beautiful, vibrant and dynamic town of Herne Bay. After this, Duchamp returned home full of fresh ideas that changed the direction of modern art irrevocably.  We think this is something to celebrate.

Our ambitions for our festival are simple. We want to make everyone in Herne Bay aware of Marcel Duchamp and his work and proud of his connection with our town. And we want to show visitors that Herne Bay is as exciting today as it was when Duchamp arrived here as a young man of 26.


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Shortly after he arrived in Herne Bay, Duchamp sent a postcard to his friend Max Bergmann. He wrote it in German since at this time Marcel Duchamp did not speak any English. Duchamp had been depressed since the Armory show in the spring and talked of leaving the art world. On the postcard he wrote:


I am not dead, I am spending a month in Herne Bay (England) with my sister. Very pleasant weather and beautiful countryside. I will return to Paris on 15 September. You can write to me here until the end of the month.

festivalguidecoverThe festival programme is now available and FREE! View online now.

The 64 page colour guide to the festival is available from the following Herne Bay locations:

>  Beach Creative

> Visitor Information at the Bandstand

View the Festival Programme online.


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Britain’s best known and wittiest cartoonists are coming to Herne Bay on Saturday August 3rd. They will be drawing live at the Central Bandstand from 1 o’clock, accompanied by some cool music. It’s all free so come and see them at work.



 Our six speakers explore the influences of his summer in Herne Bay on Duchamp’s future work including his decision to stop painting, his exposure to the English language and the effect of the lights on Herne Bay’s pier on the Large Glass. Jeremy Millar will be presenting his film Zugzwang (almost complete).

To register for this free event on August 2nd please click here.



Herne Bay’s second Blue Plaque will be unveiled as part of the Marcel Duchamp in Herne Bay Festival on 3rd August 2013.


The Blue Plaque is going up at the address in Downs Park where Duchamp stayed during the summer of 1913. Duchamp’s sister, Yvonne, was taking English classes at Lynton College and he accompanied her as a chaperone 






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It is now less than two weeks till the festival launch but already things are underway. Introducing Mr D. opened on Friday at the Herne Bay Museum and Gallery. If you don’t already know about Marcel Duchamp’s connection with Herne Bay, why he came here, or what his contribution was to developments in 20th Century Art, make sure you visit and find the answers.

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You can view an interview with Duchamp, unseen since 1966, and see recreations of his most iconic works.

CameraZOOM-20130720112052503We’ve created a Pop Up Gallery at the former Odyssey shop on the corner of William Street and Mortimer Street in the heart of Herne Bay’s shopping area. Children from our primary schools (ages from 4-10) have created new work inspired by Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. Defaceables demonstrates the extraordinary creativity of our young people and their work on show here is witty, fun and delicious.


It’s open every day and you are invited to produce your own work of    art and add it to our gallery walls.






Ralph Steadman has individually signed an edition of 60 Giclee prints of his Duchamp festival image for us and generously said that all proceeds should go towards festival running costs. We cannot thank him enough.

The sale price is £150 each (unframed). If you would like to buy one, please email your request to sue@bayguide.co.uk and we’ll add your name to the list. You can also purchase copies of our festival poster, signed collages by Paul Minott, postcards and badges from our galleries and festival shop.

Photo Galleries



Art Bikes

Find out more about the Art Bike Trail here.

Funders and Sponsors include:

Arts Council England



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