I had done what I could do with cubism, and immediately wanted to change
Was Marcel Duchamp trolling the artworld?
In 1917, he submitted an upside-down urinal signed, ‘R. Mutt, 1917’ to an open exhibition in New York. Urinals are ubiquitous, functional objects – so if you’re wondering why that’s art, well, so was everybody else…
Duchamp was born in Normandy in 1887. Like his two older brothers, his early work was cubist. In 1913, Duchamp pioneered the concept of the 'readymade'. These are manufactured objects repurposed as art, forcing viewers to consider ordinary objects in a new light.
In fact, I only made 13 of them in my life, in 40 years, so it’s not very much of an occupation.
Duchamp wasn’t just trolling, he continually pushed the boundaries of art. By the time he died in 1968 he had changed the very meaning of art forever.