The Triumph of the Urinal

Marcel Duchamp's urinal

In 1917 Marcel Duchamp called a porcelain urinal art, and entered it in a New York exhibit. He signed his “ready made” artwork, R. Mutt (a pun using the German word for poverty, “armut”). Eighty seven years later Duchamp is being acknowledged as the spiritual father of today’s postmodern conceptualist artists… with one important distinction. Duchamp loathed the bourgeois art establishment and wanted to destroy it, while today’s postmodernists are the bourgeois art establishment! In advance of the Tate Gallery announcing its exalted Turner Prize for contemporary art this coming December 6th, a select poll of 500 high society art snobs was conducted by the Tate and Gordon’s Gin (corporate sponsor of the Turner Prize). Those polled represent the crowned heads of the UK art autocracy… dealers, critics, curators, and artists. Sixty four percent concluded that Duchamp’s toilet bowl is the “single most influential work of art of the 20th century.” One has to wonder just how much free Gin was made available by the corporate sponsor prior to the voting. Or perhaps those defective electronic voting machines were acting up again.

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