• Duchamp’s Fountain: A Psychic Retort to the Functionless Armory

    Date posted: April 24, 2013 Author: mauri
    Duchamp

    After much duress and rhetoric, Fountain by Duchamp as lowly as it once appeared, has been chastened by Meister Eckhart, who proclaimed: “And behold! All in One.”  Not merely a gaff of raw Dadaist vulgarity, but a heightened amplification usurping the serene bypass taken by artists on the aftermath of Duchamp’s storm of acrimony. R. Mutt, after all, is none other than a piss-wad, a rant, a sullen exorcist, at best, an industrial designer. Where lies his offal desire, his exterminating lethargy that makes him Fountain’s true protagonist? A howling indecency for some (William Glackens, for sure) admits a reclusive gambit for others. At the close of the Armory, heathen Duchamp had no other choice. With all the recourse mustered within his petulant breath, Duchamp waited in the wings over four impetuous years, then broke free with this canonical fodder – a Cubo-futurist Madonna wound into the lid off Buddha’s brisket.  And there anointed by the halo’d historians donned in galvanized suits. The magpies howled, the lizards held their leap. Duchamp had turned a furnace valve into a ribald fricassee. Four years!  He waited to release his uronic substance that would transform the reality of art in all hemispheres, waiting for the unctuous touting of post-art. He let go into the porcelain mist. The cauldron of distinct believers, left alone, fraught with utopian scorn: by necessity, his anesthetic provocation. Fountain’s psychic mixture of altruistic pain and frivolous insouciance, opened the threshold of twentieth century art, a forecast none could expect, yet came to know, to frolic, and denounce, only until the psychic charge became reeled on screens of lost consciousness.  The death of Armory humiliation was a long-lasting triumph, as it would have been for Arsenal Craven. Indeed, Fountain has regained its force to dispel the laggards whose art still remained petrified on museological walls.

    Robert C. Morgan is an international critic, art historian, wanderer, and painter, who lives in New York City.

    Image: The original Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, 1917, photographed by Alfred Stieglitz at the 291 after the 1917 Society of Independent Artists exhibit. Stieglitz used a backdrop of The Warriors by Marsden Hartley to photograph the urinal. The exhibition entry tag can be clearly seen.

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