September 17, 2003

Love, Spirituality, and Sex II

Another Artist

Marcel Duchamp’s creation of his ready-made, Fountain, in 1917 was possibly the first installation (a piece or pieces seemingly taken out of context united by an artistic concept). Duchamp appropriated the mass produced urinal and renamed it Fountain, usually, a term meant to indicate a beautiful object installed permanently for our contemplation and appreciation in a public space. Thus, Duchamp used language to alter our understanding and appreciation of the visual object. Additionally, I argue that Duchamp’sFountain also demonstrates the first twentieth century attempt to reconceptualize human sexuality. Duchamp’s heterosexist image of the urinal is gendered female because it is used as receptacle for one of the male’s body fluids. In my own sculptures of urinals and my drawings of men using them, I reinvoked Duchamp’s image of the urinal as container for the male’s body fluids though I have gendered it as male.

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