On Fountain, and the power of Duchamp, a century later

I witnessed the power of Duchamp recently when I came across the above piece at Tate Modern in London. There was an show of surrealism with dozens of works, but that work, Fountain, had people stopping and talking as they came across it. The talk was a mix of shock and humour and admiration of the chutzpah of it.

Fountain is coming up on its centenary. Despite a century of art, this readymade still has the power to have people talk about art and aesthetics in a way few other pieces can do. It’s remarkable to me that an object so low in everyday status has such a high place in the history of art. Perhaps that’s part of its power. I think Duchamp would smile at that.

For more in the history of the piece, see this.

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