18 May, 2011

Potty Talk - Marcel Duchamp's (ahem) Art


In previous posts, which are listed below, we have been taking a tour of the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection exhibit.

Matisse, The Woman with a Hat.
Matisse, The Conversation, 1938.
SFMOMA posts.
The urinal we all know and love/hate.

In these posts, I've brought you some awe inspiring works by the French master, Henri Matisse.  Now, we will confront the most well known object d'art in the world, The Fountain by Marcel Duchamp.

From sublime to art crime. 

In the spirit of Marcel Duchamp, I present the following reactions and ideas in no particular order.

Duchamp is a very ostentatious artist. His works and installations are few, but his footprint is large.

Making Sense of Marcel Duchamp

Say what you will, but Mr. Duchamp's Fountain is a conversation starter. Rather than killing art, it probably renewed dialog on ideas and meaning in art. It isn't a beautiful object, but it does get you thinking.

The idea of an ugly object as an installation may be offensive, or it may be a tremendous joke, but I feel that M. Duchamp would be a very fun and interesting guy to sit over a cigar and spirits to shoot the bull with.   

The Fountain is more complex than you may think at first. Sure, the idea of anti art is easily understood, and the rejection of the aesthetic is not too challenging. But, the story is the thing. He entered the object in an exhibition where there was no jury, and everything entered was to be exhibited. Except that they rejected his work. That is funny. Then he resigned from the exhibition group, but the rejection brought him lasting fame.

The Independent noted in a February 2008 article that with this single work, Duchamp invented conceptual art and "severed forever the traditional link between the artist's labour and the merit of the work".[13]

You realize that performance artists vie for the chance to pee on the fountain.  Another no-brainer.

Dadaist art.  Marcel Duchamp is the duke of Dadaism.  His name is the foremost among Dadaists, but I also like Francis Picabia.

There is always room for the absurd in art, and it helps to have a sense of humor about yourself.  Congratulations to Marcel Duchamp for providing us with a laugh, and a conversation.


Cmichaudart said...

I learned more from your blog than I ever, ever read on this piece before! thanks, and performance is part of the entire package, no? for all of us??

Celeste Bergin said...

Casey...I very much agree with you, that without unusual art (that may seem "crazee") the art world would suffer. There are two sides to a coin and how can we compare if there was nothing to compare to? I love your blog, you put up the best videos!

p.s. did someone mention to me that you are putting together a pastel class in Portland?

SamArtDog said...

Another sterling piece of entertainment, Casey. You give new meaning to thoughtful posting.
Have you noticed that both Duchamp and Picabia had excellent hair on top of their thoughtful brainpans?
Product is everything..

Casey Klahn said...

That's funny, Sam. More hair=more brain power. It worked for Einstein.

Cindy, I sure learned some things studying up for this. I'm glad you read here.

Celeste, thanks for the words, and for reading. I like where he admits his own contradictions, and the way the interviewer is smiling like it's a big joke. Yes, I am coming to the Portland area in June.

Susan Hediger-Matteson said...

Thanks for the article on Duchamp. I have always liked his work and this was a trip down memory lane. I think is it taking those industrial things we think mundane and forcing us to look anew.

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism