Duchamp under the hammer: iconoclasm, vandalism and authenticity

Paterson, D. (2009) Duchamp under the hammer: iconoclasm, vandalism and authenticity. In: Hermens, E. and Fiske, T. (eds.) Art, Conservation and Authenticities: Material, Concept, Context. Archetype, pp. 183-189. ISBN 9781904982517

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In this paper I contrast two incidents in which contentious notions of authenticity were tested legally: one recent, involving an act of ‘redemptive’ vandalism against a replica of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, and one from the 1920s, involving the tax status of brancusi sculptures imported into America. Duchamp, and most importantly his ‘readymade’ paradigm, is implicated in both these incidents, and they offer ways of understanding the shifting relationship between art objects and utilitarian ones. In my reading they also illuminate the role of artistic intention, materiality and aesthetic judgement as competing loci of authenticity. Close reading of Duchamp’s own thinking about art and authenticity yields a more ambiguous picture of the aesthetic significance of the readymades than a simple view of them as ‘anti-art’.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Paterson, Dr Dominic
Authors: Paterson, D.
Subjects:N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art

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