Fountain and Other Readymades by Marcel Duchamp
Victor Hicks, Erin Spencer, Ashlee Pietila, Reagan Hurley

Readymades- Everyday, unaltered, manufactured goods that can be classified as art based on the virtue of the artists selection or preference.

Types of Readymades:
1. Fountain (Unaltered Readymades)
2. Assisted Readymades
3. Reciprocal Readymades
4. Rectified Readymades

Fountain: In 1917, Duchamp once said, "Painting is washed up...I want something where the eye and the hand count for nothing." This is exactly what he created when he released his most famous ready-made, Fountain. Fountain, seen below, is a urinal taken out of its original context and has the phrase, "R.Mutt" written on the bottom left. When he made this piece, Duchamp's main goal was to create a new perspective or thought on the art that the viewer sees. He uses Fountain to get the viewer to expand their thoughts on art. Once the audience gets to a point where, how the art is created is not a problem, then Duchamp has accomplished his goal in changing the viewers perspective. Duchamp went against the norm where you people mainly saw contemporary art. This piece, Fountain, is the pioneer of his ready-made era.

Fountain, Duchamp (1917)

Obviously, we know that Duchamp wanted to go against the norm by introducing this piece of Fountain but, it's a little deeper than that. He criticized other artists art as "retinal art" because it was pleasing to the eye but not necessarily challenging to the mind. Obviously, this piece of art received much criticism as it was initially denied by an art committee when Duchamp sent in his original piece. However, this criticism did not phase or surprise Duchamp because this was the exact reason that he created this piece, to open a new area on viewing art. After making this piece in 1917, Duchamp said, "I want to put art back in the service of the mind." With this piece he challenged his viewers and introduced a mindset of art that would change the way we look at art forever.

Assisted Readymades
Definition: Assisted Readymades are made by putting two or more readymades together. This takes away their functional use, but adds to the purpose of the two objects. Some readymades moved, and Duchamp was able to use them for amusement, creating meaning from the different pieces and movements. One of his assisted readymades Bicycle Wheel was the first kinetic sculpture, which is a sculpture that features moving parts and a variety of overlapping techniques and styles. An example of this is "With Hidden Noise" which was created in 1916. It was a ball of twine between two brass plates, joined by four screws. An unknown object has been placed in the ball of twine by one of Duchamp's friends.


Bicycle Wheel, 1913


Belle Haleine, Eau de Violette, 1921.
A perfume bottle in the original box.


Why Not Sneeze, Rose Selavy?, 1921.
Marble cubes in the shape of sugar lumps with a thermometer and cuttle bones in a small bird cage.

Reciprocal Readymades

Definition: Reciprocal readymades set out to blend art with life. Reciprocal readymades come in the form of notes and written ideas, rather than a tangible object. In a sense they take some of the sacredness out of art, the ideas proposed by these readymades may greatly offend some artists. Reciprocal readymades only come in the form of ideas. In this way they are just like many other readymades, reciprocals just can’t be executed.

“Green Box”
images.jpg green_box.jpg
This reciprocal readymade is a green cardboard box that discusses Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelor’s, Even, one of Duchamp’s earlier works. The assorted noted inside of the box detail the thought behind Duchamp’s work on this piece. It includes ninety-three notes and photos, and gives insight into the evolution of Duchamp’s artistic style. It is a reciprocal readymade in that it is written thoughts and notes, rather than something to be displayed. Duchamp made many copies of this piece, and wrote them all out by hand.

“Use Rembrandt as an Ironing Board”
Note: this is not actually Duchamp’s work, just a representation of a thought he wrote down.
This idea is a note that appeared inside of Duchamp’s Green Box. This idea especially illustrates the idea that reciprocal readymades in that it takes a revered work of art and places it into everyday life.
“Find inscription for the Woolworth building as a readymade.”
woolworth_building.jpgWoolworth Building between 1910 and 1920

This is one of Duchamp’s ideas of a reciprocal readymade developed and written down in 1916. This is a perfect example of the fact that readymades cannot be executed; they are solely thoughts and ideas. The Woolworth building one of the tallest buildings in New York, and is an iconic piece of architecture. This piece could be taken offensively, which is common to reciprocal readymades.

Rectified Readymades
Definition: Rectified readymades are already established works of art with a mark or an alter to them. Rectified readymades can also be described as an object manufactured for some other purpose, presented by an artist as a work of art. The motive behind rectified readymades is to go above and beyond the original readymades and further test the limits of what qualifies as a work of art. Marcel Duchamp was famous for his readymades, and his rectified readymades. He had a knack for taking everyday objects and altering them in a way that would make people look at it and question as to why it is art. Some rectified readymades he is famous for is L.H.O.O.Q, his depiction of Mona Lisa, with a mustache and beard on her, Pharmacy, and Wanted, $2,000 Reward.

An example of this type of ready-made that Duchamp created was a pencil on reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. This is a rectified readymade because it is taking an original painting, and then altering it by adding the mustache.
Marcel Duchamp's "L.H.O.O.Q" rectified ready-made.

Another rectified readymade is Duchamp's piece Apolinère Enameled. This piece is a girl painting a bedpost with white paint. The depiction of the frame deliberately includes conflicting perspective lines, to produce an impossible image, which makes this a rectified readymade.
Marcel Duchamp's "Apolinère Enameled" rectified readymade.

Another famous rectified readymade is Duchamp's Pharamcy. In this ready made Duchamp took a black and white painting, and altered it by adding color which put it in the 'rectified' category.

Duchamp's "Pharmacy" rectified readymade.


Unaltered (Fountain):