Thursday, March 23, 2017

Midterm Essay

Henri Robert Marcel Duchamp was a major influential and innovative contributor to Modern Art. He founded the American Dada movement, by challenging what defines art. One of his most famous works that provoked the question of what art is was the 1917 piece Fountain, which was a urinal. Another of these exhibits was the 1913 Bicycle wheel. These “readymades” were objects that were taken out of their usual context, like a urinal and bicycle wheel, and given the status of artwork simply because the artist deemed the so. While his work is similar to the work of Surrealists, he never associated himself with and specific artistic movement. He argued, rather, that art should concept-driven and be motivated by intellect and ideas.

American Dadaism tended to have more of a serious tone to that of the European Dada movement, and was not predominantly organized. A prime example of Duchamp's association with Dadaism was his submission of Fountain to the Society of Independent Artists exhibit in 1917. Art in the Independent Artists shows were not selected by a jury, meaning all pieces submitted were displayed. Still, the show committee claimed that Fountain was not art, and refused to have it in the show. This caused an upheaval among the Dadaists and led Duchamp to resign from the board of the Independent Artists.

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