Friday, December 23, 2011

Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ Was Subversive

"Around holiday time, you’ve got to envy the Norwegians. They’ve got real candles on the tree, gobbets of pork fat for Christmas dinner (these are euphemistically known as “ribs”) and aquavit to feed the glow. This year, as an extra Yuletide treat just for them, they’re also getting fresh insights into the most influential artwork of the 20th century."

"That’s how Marcel Duchamp’s urinal “Fountain” once polled among experts, and we’re all supposed to know why: In 1917, when Duchamp submitted a store-bought urinal to a New York exhibition, he took a low-end piece of mechanical mass production and, by fiat, elevated it to the status of fine art. All the genre-bending, class-stretching, anti-craft freedoms of contemporary art follow from that moment.

Read the rest of the article here