Marcel Duchamp: Richard Mutt’s Fountain

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Publisher: VFMK, ISBN: 9783903320246, Format: Hardcover, 114 x 146 mm, 280pp

In 1917, the newly formed Society of Independent Artists received an unusual submission for its inaugural exhibit in New York: a porcelain urinal signed with the name “R. Mutt.” This publication brings together an impressive amount of research as it considers the context of Duchamp’s piece "Fountain" and its continued legacy, while rejecting the recently mooted thesis that Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven had created the work.

The Society’s board members agreed to accept it into the exhibition, but they decided at the last minute to omit the piece, entitled Fountain, from the final display. It was later revealed that the artist Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) had submitted the piece to the Society, of which he himself was a member. Today, the Fountain remains a symbol of antiestablishment creativity, questioning what does and does not constitute art and who has the authority to make that distinction.