"I see no nude! I see no Staircase!"
There were fistfights.
I visit this amazing work all the time at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It's hard, at this late date, to understand the fuss. We 21st-century types are used to non-representative art. Of course there's no nude. That's not what the painting is about! It's about motion, and surface, time and space.
Pictured at right is another early 20th century masterpiece; a panel from E.C. Segar's Thimble Theater (April 29, 1932). While nowhere near the draftsman that Duchamp was, Segar here employs a very similar method for depicting time and motion in a static two-dimensional space.
Why no fistfights?
Is it because 20 years had passed, and Duchamp's methods had been asimilated? Is it because it's "just a comic strip" and therefore unworthy of the passion elicited by Duchamp?
I have no answer to these questions. I'm not even sure they're valid questions. I was just reading old Segar strips and said "Hey- that looks a lot like Duchamp's Nude!" I can't discount the possibility that I'm completely full of shit, but that's what I see.