Marcel Duchamp, Fountain 1917, replica 1964 The ‘readymade’
Marcel Duchamp | The Richard Mutt Case | 1917 They say any artist paying six dollars may exhibit. Mr. Richard Mutt sent in a fountain. Without discussion this article disappeared and was never exhibited. What were the grounds for refusing Mr. Mutt's fountain: 1. Some contend it was immoral, vulgar. 2. Others, it was plagiarism, a plain piece of plumbing. Now Mr. Mutt's fountain is not immoral, that is absurd, no more than a bath tub is immoral. It is a fixture that you see every day in plumbers' show windows. Whether Mr. Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under a new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object. As for plumbing, that is absurd. The only works of art America has given are her plumbing and her bridges.
The ‘readymade’ A ‘work of art without an artist to make it’
“ in 1913 I had the happy idea to fasten a bicycle wheel to a kitchen stool and watch it turn. A few months later I bought a cheap reproduction of a winter evening landscape, which I called Pharmacy after adding two small dots, one red and one yellow, in the horizon. In New York in 1915 I bought at a hardware store a snow shovel on which I wrote ‘In Advance of the Broken Arm’. It was around that time the word ‘readymade’ came to mind to designate this form of manifestation.’ The ‘readymade’
Marcel Duchamp Bottle Rack 1914 Readymade: bottle rack made of galvanized iron (Replica, 1964)
The ‘readymade’ Ontology: What is art? What defines it? Epistemology: How do we know whether or not it is art? Institutional framework: Who says so? Who determines it?
“ That is a very difficult point, because art first has to be defined. Alright, can we try to define art? We have tried, everybody has tried and in every century there is a new definition of art. Meaning that there is no essential, no ONE essential, that is good for all centuries. So if we accept the idea of trying not to define art, which is a very legitimate conception, then the readymade can be seen as a sort of irony, because it says here it is, a thing that I call art, I didn’t even make it myself. As we know art etymologically speaking means to ‘make’, ‘hand make’, and there instead of making, I take it readymade. So it was a form of denying the possibility of defining art.” Marcel Duchamp, in BBC Radio interview, 1959
<ul><li>Readymades: </li></ul><ul><li>“ They were based on a reaction of visual indifference, a total absence of good or bad taste, a complete anasthesia.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marcel Duchamp </li></ul></ul>
The Critique of the ‘Author’: Michel Foucault – ‘What is an Author?’ (1969) - The ‘author-function’ Roland Barthes – ‘The Death of the Author’ (1968) - And ‘birth’ of the reader
<ul><li>Pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Exhibition at Artists Space </li></ul><ul><li>a gallery in New York </li></ul><ul><li>in 1977 </li></ul><ul><li>curated by art critic Douglas Crimp </li></ul><ul><li>Included work by Jack Goldstein, Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine </li></ul><ul><li>Crimp said: </li></ul><ul><li>“ We are not in search of sources of origins but of structures of signification: underneath each picture there is always another picture.” </li></ul>
… when Sherrie Levine appropriates-literally takes-Walker Evans's photographs of the rural poor or, perhaps more pertinently, Edward Weston's photographs of his son Neil posed as a classical Greek torso, is she simply dramatizing the diminished possibilities for creativity in an image-saturated culture, as is often repeated? Or is her refusal of authorship not in fact a refusal of the role of creator as "father" of his work, of the paternal rights assigned to the author by law? From Craig Owens' "The Discourse of Others: Feminists and Postmodernism”
"According to copyright law, the images belong to Weston, or now to the Weston estate. I think, to be fair, however, we might just as well give them to Praxiteles [a famous classical sculptor] , for if it is the image that can be owned, then surely these belong to classical sculpture, which would put them in the public domain. "The priori Weston had in mind was not really in his mind at all; it was in the world, and Weston only copied it." Douglas Crimp, The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism published in October , issue #15 (Winter 1980)