Duchamp stole this iconic act from fabulous Dada poet and artist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.
Yes, that urinal – “an icon of twentieth-century art” (tate.org), “the loo that shook the world” (Independent). Reputedly Marcel Duchamp (Dada* hero) signed a mass produced urinal R.MUTT and, in a radical gesture in 1917, submitted it to an open exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists, New York, under the title Fountain. It was rejected in what is now seen as a crucial turning point in art. Since then it has been celebrated (and castigated!) as the starting point for all the subsequent installation and conceptual artwork that dominates contemporary art today.
But, as a convincing article in this November’s Art Newspaper argues, Duchamp stole this iconic act from fabulous Dada poet and artist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.