Curatorial Projects > Copycat (2019)

Scott Kildall & Bryan Cera
Chess with Mustaches (detail), 2015
VeroClear 3D prints with LED stand

Chess with Mustaches is a set of six mustachioed 3D prints of chess pieces, created in response to a legal threat to the artists from the estate of Marcel Duchamp. In 2014 Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera published Readymake: Duchamp Chess Pieces, a 3D-printable digital recreation of Marcel Duchamp’s original hand-carved chess set. Interested in celebrating the artist’s legacy and introducing his works to a growing online community of makers, they uploaded the models to Thingiverse for anyone to download and print. Within four months the Duchamp Estate challenged the chess pieces as copyright infringement and, after practical considerations, Kildall and Cera scrubbed the original work from the internet.

Chess with Mustaches adds mustaches to six of the pieces from Readymake, positioning these revised works not as a recreation but rather as parody. The mustaches reference Duchamp’s work L.H.O.O.Q. which many interpreted as an attack on the iconic Mona Lisa and traditional art in general. The artists see their act as one that continues the legacy of Duchamp’s contribution to the art dialogue, by investigating object-hood and ownership in the age of the internet sharing and remixing. This project invites everyone to rethink relationships between accessibility of information and intellectual property.


September 21 – October 31, 2019
Fine Arts Gallery at San Francisco State University
San Francisco, CA