This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

8Apr/17

MARCEL DUCHAMP’S “FOUNTAIN” TURNS 100

Marcel Duchamp, “Fountain,” (1950 version of 1917 original), Philadelphia Museum of Art, 125th Anniversary Acquisition, gift (by exchange) of Mrs. Herbert Cameron Morris, 1998 (© Artists Rights Society, ARS, New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp)

Marcel Duchamp, “Fountain,” (1950 version of 1917 original), Philadelphia Museum of Art, 125th Anniversary Acquisition, gift (by exchange) of Mrs. Herbert Cameron Morris, 1998 (© Artists Rights Society, ARS, New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp)

On Sunday, April 9, at 3:00, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which has an extensive collection of works by French ready-made Dada master Marcel Duchamp, will host The Richard Mutt Case, a site-specific performance by members of Pig Iron Theatre Company reenacting the scandal over Duchamp’s most famous piece, the upside-down porcelain urinal known as “Fountain,” which the Society of Independent Artists rejected for an open New York exhibition exactly one hundred years ago. In celebration of the centennial, the museum is offering free entry between 3:00 and 4:00 on Sunday to visitors who say “Richard Mutt” or “R. Mutt,” the name used to sign “Fountain” (it actually says “R. Mutt”), at the admissions desk. The event is being held in conjunction with the exhibition “Marcel Duchamp and the Fountain Scandal,” which continues through December 3. So why is a publication entitled “This Week in New York” hyping something happening in Philadelphia? Well, there are numerous museums around the world participating in the free-admission password homage, including institutions in Beijing, Jerusalem, Stockholm, Basel, London, Kyoto, Amsterdam, Paris, and Berlin. No New York City museum has officially stated that it will be taking part in the program, which is too bad. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try. Getting rejected could make you empathize a bit with Duchamp, who wrote at the time to his sister, “One of my female friends under a masculine pseudonym, Richard Mutt, sent in a porcelain urinal as a sculpture; it was not at all indecent — no reason for refusing it. The committee has decided to refuse to show this thing. I have handed in my resignation and it will be a bit of gossip of some value in New York.” One hundred years later, it is still valuable gossip. (For an additional New York City angle, on April 10, Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, a major Duchamp collector located on West Fifty-Seventh St., will open “Marcel Duchamp Fountain: An Homage,” consisting of related works by John Baldessari, Marcel Dzama, Sherrie Levine, Sophie Matisse, Richard Pettibone, Ai Weiwei, and more than two dozen others that were directly influenced by “Fountain,” which went missing many years ago.)

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

No comments yet.


Leave a comment


No trackbacks yet.