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Pop will eat itself - A little less than a happy high
komos
komos
Pop will eat itself

One of the existing versions of Marcel Duchamps' Fountain was damaged earlier this month when Pierre Pinoncelli, a 77 year old perfomance artist, "attacked" it with a small hammer. It was Pinoncelli's second attempt on the piece, the first having taken place in 1993 when he wrote the word "DADA" on the sculpture after urinating in it.

Pinoncelli was given a three month suspended jail term and fined for the cost of repairs. For his part, he defended his attempts as in keeping with Dadaist philosophy and said that he intends to appeal the decision.
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Comments
why_style From: why_style Date: January 26th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
you know, i heard about this the other day as this show is currently being moved from the pomidou in paris to our gallery. thankfully, i guess, we're using another of the replicas (the original having been lost). i'm looking forward to finally seeing this piece because i have this feeling like it's completely insane to call it art, and yet it's such an influential thing. i just wish duchamp would have given credit to the original designer of the urinal.
komos From: komos Date: January 26th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
So far as I know, all of the versions currently circulating were created by Duchamps sometime in the 60's. I'm curious what the circumstances were behind the loss of the 1917 original, and suppose that it will be amongst my upcoming google searches.

I think credit is difficult to provide for ordinary manufactured objects. Even assuming that you could identify individuals associated with the piece as bathroom fixture, who do you give credit to? Would it be the industrial designer who drew up the design? The engineer who prepared the original cast? The workers on the factory floor who actually crafted the piece? And who is R. Mutt, anyway?

The piece has always been controversial, though I think it works, if only to get us thinking about what art is and why it's important. It's true that on one level, it reduces art to simple (and quite literal) toilet humor. On another, it takes an entirely ordinary object and makes it unique through selection and modification.
why_style From: why_style Date: January 30th, 2006 11:06 am (UTC) (Link)
it would probably be hard to identify the individuals who actually made the particular urinal, but i think the guy who drew up the original design should be credited somehow (even in a backhanded sort of way). but maybe that's just the art historical way of approaching things. for instance with prints: we credit the person who designed the print, when in fact they probably weren't involved in actually making it. with the exception of a handful of artists like rembrant and durer who liked to do thier own plates, most prints were made in shops by tradesmen who based their etchings or woodcuts on an artist's painting or drawing. and even if the printer is credited, it'd most likely be the owner of the shop and not necessarily the person who actually did the work.

anyway, the thing about this piece is that is perfectly illustrates how i'm torn in my feelings about modern art. on the one hand i like the provocative nature of such things and i'm a fan of any type of boundary pushing, plus modern stuff often just looks really cool, but on the other hand, on some level, it's just so utterly pointless. i understand intellectually the questions this asks, but then i wonder if an answer even matters. so you're questioning what makes something art -> who cares what art is? does answering a question about the nature of art have any real impact on anything, or is it just a fun little mind game?
_meej_ From: _meej_ Date: January 26th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
See, that's the thing; a large portion of his point (to my understanding) was that the fetishization of the artist's crediting as being a point of the art is, in fact, somewhat insane. He was exploring what it is that makes art Art, and trying to poke with a pointy object the idea that it's somehow an Artist that makes something into Art.

If it's simply the act of intent and of acting, somehow, upon a piece/canvas/medium, with an aim to provoke either an aesthetic or an intellectual reaction rather than to create utility, then in fact the original designer of the urinal wasn't making Art, and merely by signing, titling, and hanging the piece as "Fountain" with intention Duchamp was turning it into such.

On the other hand, it's not beyond him (or Dadaism) to have primarily been pointing out the fallacy there, rather than trying to actually claim that hypothesis about Art as fact.
komos From: komos Date: January 26th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
My compliments, sir.
_meej_ From: _meej_ Date: January 27th, 2006 12:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks; it was the Art History almost-minor in college that did it. Actually, though, the best course among those I took - heck, one of the best courses I took in college, period - was "Art between the World Wars" which actually covered from 1900 till about 1950, since you need to look a little wider to look at the trends.
why_style From: why_style Date: January 30th, 2006 11:08 am (UTC) (Link)
...and i guess that's where the pointlessness of Art begins for me.
prosicated From: prosicated Date: January 26th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
*snort* I adore the possibility of appealing a decision on the basis of Dadaist philosophy, but really? There are a hundred urinals in most museums, the rest would be easier to get to, and might be at least as old. The ones in the PMA might even have been touched by dear Rose Selavie himself!
komos From: komos Date: January 26th, 2006 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's actually keeping a promise he made to Duchamps in 1967 to deface one of the remade versions of Fountain. There are two things feeding into this: 1) in being copies of the missing original, they are not unique and therefore should hold no inherent value, and 2) the very idea of revering the object in the first place is antithetical to what Duchamps was attempting.
From: ulf_rulz Date: January 27th, 2006 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Well if it's a promise made to the artist I say Kudos!

It was always my understanding that the original piece's origin was something of a mystery as no company could be found that made one just like it...

Remids me of a (shudder) Yoko Ono Fluxus piece she came up with whereby one goes into an art gallery and defaces some art. Someone got the great idea to do it to one of her pieces of art in the Guggenheim (if I remember right.) Alas, she thought it was great! The museum didn't know what to do...

Don't get me wrong, I got a BFA from an Art-school, but Modern Art is a complete waste of time. Has been since sometime in the twenties or thirties, when everyone decided that any form of traditionally inspired art was old and boring. You can blame the CIA and Jackson Pollock.
komos From: komos Date: January 27th, 2006 09:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, that's what Pinoncelli claims. I have no idea if there's any truth to it, or if Duchamps thought it a good idea.

Pollack was in league with the Culinary Institute of America?
From: ulf_rulz Date: January 30th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah.

Lot's of multi-colored spaghetti dishes. ;)

Doink.
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