A Whole Century Later, The Duchamp Fountain is Still Shaking up the Art World

Can One Make Works That Are Not “Works” of Art?

This was a question asked by Duchamp in his notes from 1913, and remains being the essential question while considering the Richard Mutt Case.

Exactly one hundred years ago, in 1917, the course of art history has been completely changed by a submission of a urinal signed “R. Mutt” for the exhibition of The Society of Independent Artists in New York – a work which we today know as The Duchamp Fountain.

Even though the idea of the exhibition was that every work submitted should be exhibited, and even though Marcel Duchamp himself was a part of the committee, The Fountain remained to be the only work, out of 2,125 others, that wasn’t accepted for the exhibition.

Duchamp’s proxy, Beatrice Wood, published a defense of the work titled The Richard Mutt Case in the May edition of their Dada Journal, entitled The Blind Man.


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