Readymade Art Essay

1286 words - 5 pages

In 1915 the concept of “readymade” art was introduced by Marcel Duchamp when he took an ordinary snow shovel and painted the title In advance of the broken arm. He had previously turned a wheel up-side down and attached it to a stool, creating a piece he called Bicycle wheel. This was also considered a “readymade.” A “readymade” by Duchamp is “an ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist.” Duchamp produced many of these “readymades,” but it his readymade entitled Fountain that we will be discussing here. Duchamp’s Fountain originated from a urinal that he with two other friends purchased from a plumber, took to his studio, and turned it on its backside. He painted the pseudonym “R. Mutt” on it, and submitted it to the Society of Independent Artists in an exhibition. Duchamp took an everyday item and submitted it as art. His Fountain was a readymade that would become the most influential piece of art of the 20th century. Society ponders Duchamp’s meaning behind his artwork. What is it? What does it represent? What did Marcel Duchamp mean by this piece? Is it art because he chose it as art? The art world is so ostentatious that it will over analyze anything that is put in front of them, when in fact; there is no meaning at all. Marcel Duchamp chose this piece as a practical joke on the Society of Independent Artists. It is in my judgment that just choosing an object for display does not constitute it to be art.
People read into this sculpture too much. Far too many people interpret it as a sexual piece. They think it looks like male genitalia, while others think it represents female genitalia. Yet others have a homosexual opinion of it because of the activities that go on inside male public restrooms. Some have even compared it to the Virgin Mary after Marcel had pictures taken of it under certain lighting conditions, saying that it has the same general shape and under that right light looks like the cloaked Virgin. The same has been said about Buddha. This comparison is absolutely insulting to Buddhist and Christians. Comparing major religious icons to a piece of plumbing that is urinated into is absolutely blasphemous. The argument that the changed orientation and pedestal make it something other than a urinal cannot be made. All of this over reading was what Duchamp perhaps was making fun of, and he is exactly right for doing it. Everyone fell for it, when it is in fact just a urinal. Marcel did this to point out how absurd most modern art was. He was upset at the Society and making fun that anything displayed in a gallery people will be gullible enough to “ooh” and “aah” over and call it art because they do not have the common sense enough to call anyone out and say that it is not art.
Marcel Duchamp did not create his fountain. He used no raw materials like another artist would. A sculpture carves his image into stone or clay, a poet uses a pen to put words on paper, and a painter puts oil...

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