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From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Nov 27 2001 - 14:04:40 PST

Juline beat me to a reply about Dadaism and Marcel.

> Duchamp
> was pushing the boundaries...seeing how much he could
> get away with. He was making visual and verbal puns
> on many levels. He said, perhaps tongue in cheek, that
> none of the objects he chose as readymades were chosen
> for aesthetic reasons or in good or bad taste...they
> were simply chosen and that act of choosing made them
> art...well, in his mind.

I'm pressed for time but wanted to get this in.

The Dadaists were exactly responding to the horror and devastation that was
supposed to be the war to end all wars. Many promising artists were killed
in that war including several of the Italian Futurists.
By putting the mustache on the Mona Lisa he was in a sense calling for an
end to all old systems and particularly what had been regarded as art.
Marcel wanted art to be a thinking process, a questioning process, and
mostly an invitation for the viewers participation. He gave an opening for
the use of found objects in art.
> I would recommend an article titled "When is Art" by
> Nelson goodman in which the author points out that a
> rock in a driveway is a boring old rock, but when you
> put a rock in a museum you notice its formal
> qualities, its color, shape, etc. etc.

Which reminds me of the Buddhist tradition of gathering rocks.

There is so much to consider in Duchamps insights if one takes the time to
go beyond just the object. His writings and process on the Bride and
Bachelors still continually challenges me.
20th century art is all about going beyond representation and documentation.
The camera put an end to that.
Duchamp is my hero and ultimately I believe he will be judged much more
important than Picasso.

The Dadaists saw the "joke." They saw that the world was changed after a
war. Just as we are all saying today things will never be the same after

I always believe it is the artists job to point out what is important to
look at. I anxiously await serious art as a reflection of 9/11.

Maybe all Marcel was saying is what is important to look at and what myths
and legends an surround an object. Certainly he accomplished that with the
Fountain whether you get it or not ---- it's still talked about. And
ultimately, at least to me, what's the difference between a portrait of an
unimportant woman and a urinal? Both are in the history books both cause
lots of discussion.

(and please don't interpret that I compare a woman to a urinal)