Jennifer on Playing by Trust
By Jennifer Shahade   
September 17, 2009
Me just before the Francis M.Naumann opening, making sure hulachess is operating smoothly.

Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess opened at the Francis M. Naumann Gallery in New York on Sept.16 and runs through October 30. The opening was packed with many luminaries in chess & art worlds popping by, including GM Lev Alburt, Dr. Frank Brady, featured artist Sophie Matisse and Christo and Jeanne-Claude, of Central Park "The Gates" fame.  The gallery showcased much of the work this spring from Marcel Duchamp: Chess Master at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art. A second room of contemporary art related to chess and Marcel Duchamp included the video installation I created with Daniel Meirom, hulachess. We got a lot of compliments on the way that the piece was installed, so you could watch it like a chess game on a table, without any trace of the speakers and projector. 

In a special performance last night in honor of the opening, I played against GM Lev Alburt on Yoko Ono's all-white chess set, "Play it By Trust." This was an honor, as I'm a big fan of Yoko Ono and she even blurbed Chess Bitch a few years ago. Unfortunately for me, Lev defeated me with time to spare.

Jennifer Shahade and GM Lev Alburt playing on Yoko Ono's chess set.

But neither of us felt that the all-white set was as hard to play on as we expected. First of all, there are indentations in the board which make it easier to mark light and dark squares. The all white pieces did make it a little harder to calculate and easier to blunder-you just have to concentrate a bit more. It's somewhere between blindfold and playing with our typical two-toned pieces. 

Check out some more photos and see the show in person if you're in New York anytime before October 30! Note that the Francis M.Naumann gallery is located at 24 West 57th Street and is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

The show was split into two main sections, a collection of Duchamp's chess related work and contemporary artists' take on Duchamp and chess.

The painting section included work by Mark Kostabi, who also designed many of GM Lev Alburt's book covers.

Lev and I argue about who gets to play White.

A chess set by Man Ray

Yoko Ono's famous "Play it By Trust" was the centerpiece of the room filled with contemporary art.