Heather Jones explores the war connections and controversy around Marcel Duchamp's work Fountain.
Five writers explore the year 1917 through the works of five diverse creative minds of the Great War, and the experiences that shaped them. In tonight's Essay, the writer and academic Heather Jones looks at French artist Marcel Duchamp's controversial 'readymade' that he entitled 'Fountain', but which was, in effect, simply a piece of common-or-garden, off-the-shelf sanitary-ware, a men's urinal. In what way, contemporary voices asked, was this art? Yet in 2004, critics named 'Fountain' as the most important art work of the twentieth century. But why? And what was the connection to the torment and terror of the First World War which still raged as Duchamp was creating it in 1917? Heather Jones explores the meaning and the wartime associations of Duchamp's now celebrated statement of artistic intent.
Producer: Simon Elmes.
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