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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!

2 replies on “Duchamp vandalism and BBC fuckwittery”

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

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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