Last month I wrote about how to pick out what you like in art. That was super easy for me because I love Goya. To be fair, I love most art.
Sometimes there’s very important pieces of art. For instance, Duchamp’s Fountain. The year was 1917 and basically Duchamp wanted to prove anything is art, so he tried to enter a urinal to the Paris art shows. The fancy people were all like, “um, that’s not even signed, get it together.” (not a direct quote) and so he signed it, titled it fountain and got it into the show.
This was a major catalyst to a whole new movement called Dada that basically is all about nonsense, but good nonsense.
You can read about it in academic terms here if you’re so inclined, and you should be inclined.
Now, if you feel that that explanation is heavily biased, then congratulations you are right.
While I understand completely what Duchamp was trying to do I mean…
It’s a urinal.
I first came across this piece when I was doing field school in art history. I had a bit of a crisis… What if I wasn’t culturally enlightened enough to get it? Is there something wrong with me?
It took me about five years to figure out the answer to that question.
I’ve learned about Duchamp and his fountain. I understand their importance to the world of art and society as a whole. I respect him for being brave enough to challenge the norms like that.
However, I do not like the fountain. It’s just not my aesthetic.
So, when you see something like this in a museum try to resist the urge to think, “you call that art? I could make that!” (which I admit I do, like a lot. Hey, I’m a work in progress) Take a minute to learn about the piece. Try to understand it. My opinion? Not liking something doesn’t make you uncultured, but not learning about it’s place and importance does.
As always, Payal does some amazing makeup inspired by the piece on Fifty Foot Lashes. She is also a trained artist and gives much better explanations on the piece and it’s importance!