Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ever Heard of Marcel Duchamp?

According to a recent survey of 500 art experts, his "Fountain" exhibit in 1917 was the most influential artwork in the entire 20th century (for what it's worth, I guessed Warhol's Marilyn Monroe series of prints; they came in third).  It's a great metaphor for the decline and debasement of art that occurred last century, and OLS philosopher and art critic Stephen Hicks explains why. From his most recent Every Joe piece:
And the survey’s winner is… Marcel Duchamp, especially for his Fountain. At first glance, Fountain might look like an ordinary men’s urinal with the letters R. MUTT and the numerals 1917 written upon it. But of course we must probe more deeply, for Duchamp was also a highly-proficient chess player, and his displaying the urinal was a sophisticated move in the intellectual game he was playing with the high-art establishment

This is a substantial article and demands more than a passing mental effort to fully grasp why a urinal is actually important in understanding 20th century art.  But as is always the case with Hicks's work, you'll be well rewarded for the effort.