Duchamp vandalism and BBC fuckwittery

Someone took a hammer to Fountain by Marcel Duchamp. Which is the famous sculpture made from a urinal. I just found the BBC’s phrasing annoying:

A 77-year-old Frenchman has spent a night in custody in Paris after attacking a plain porcelain urinal considered to be a major artwork.

‘considered’ to be a major artwork? It’s one of the iconic artworks of the 20th century! I can’t believe that 88 years after the event, the BBC still feels the need to prevaricate about it. Not the Daily Mail or the Sun, but the BBC, a serious news organisation and a major cultural broadcaster to boot. Fuckwits. What kind of philistinic culture do we live in?

I don’t insist people should like Fountain, and if you wanted, you could argue it’s a kind of work which has been a rather uninteresting experiment and should be relegated to a footnote in art history. Or whatever. But the idea that we have to have the same stupid, boring, pointless argument about whether it’s art, over and over again – aargh!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I’m surprised there’s not more of an “it’s an improvement!” jokiness running underneath. I remember when that guy jumped on Tracey Emin’s bed, everybody was, like, “it’s guerilla theater.” Well, after the guards tackled him

  2. What really annoys me is that it just short-circuits any debate. Every year, there are pieces in the Turner Prize exhibition which are, imho, a pile of crap: literal-minded, one-dimensional, and unoriginal. But that DailyMailish reaction – it’s not art! – just removes all possibility of a sane public discussion about the difference between good and bad contemporary art, or whether the Turner Prize jury are doing a good job of choosing the shortlist, and who ought to be being picked instead.

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