1907 – 1960
Age of Global Conflict

Duchamp and the Ready-Mades

Works by Marcel Duchamp discussed:
Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2), oil on canvas, 1912 (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
Bicycle Wheel, Metal wheel on wood stool, 1913, (replica after lost original, 1951), (MoMA)
In Advance of a Broken Arm, galvanized-iron snow shovel, 1915 (replica after lost original, 1964), (MoMA)
Fountain, porcelain urinal, 1917 (replica after lost original, 1951), (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Speakers: Dr. Steven Zucker, Dr. Beth Harris

Your Comments (3)

Previous Comments

cc wrote on Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Duchamp’s idea for ready-mades is to push the ideas

Caleb Travis wrote on Saturday, July 21, 2012

TheatreOccupy Wall StreetFuturism and Today’s I was energized when I read the title of this video: "Dada Duchamp and the Ready-Mades". I expected a discussion of Dadaism. However, this video fails to provide a meaningful outline of what Dadaism is/was, and by not providing a full representation, it skews its portrait, making the Dadaists look ridiculous. Here’s what I think should be included: the Dadaists consisted of refugees from across Europe who fled to Zurich, Switzerland as World War One promised impending doom to the rest of the continent. Switzerland was safe because they were neutral, and so creative minds were drawn. Artists from many disciplines, including studio artists, makers of theatre, poets and fashion designers gathered together, and in a direct reaction to their native countries acts and threats of violence, they founded Dadaism. Unlike most contemporary, or post-modern artists of today, they acted as a group, met together, drafted a manifesto, and thus, defined themselves and their intentions. Chief amongst their conceits was a collective longing for the Vox Humana, a Latin phrase which translates to "the human voice". The Vox Humana is a conceit of how human beings communicated prior to language. We're not just talking about language in a written form; we're talking about a time prior to sounds holding a collectively understood meaning. The Dadaists believed that before language humans did not live in societies because they did not feel identity with a large group of people, or more specifically, any person they did not know. Indeed, the Dadaists blame language, claiming that it made nations possible, inevitably leading mankind to massive violence, to various kinds of war. They longed for this time before history, perhaps a bit mythic in their minds, before society existed to organize human beings. They believed this was a time of peace and harmony. Here's my bone to pick with the video: by focusing on the Dadaist distaste for bourgeoisie society, and leaving out the inspiration of World War One, the concept of the Vox Humana, the tone poems written to celebrate the Vox Humana, the political intention of their radical aesthetics expressed through ready-mades, and too, by not providing a real explanation of anti-art, this video radically understates the scope of both Dadaist empathy and their indictment of the world's nations. This is an art movement that can not be divorced form its political context and simultaneously presented justly. The following video, which is about Futurism, does nothing to explain Futurism. (Nor does it claim to.) It, like Dadaism, is an aesthetic movement that can not be divorced from its politics, for the Futurists were fascists who celebrated war, calling it “the ultimate hygiene”. I hope that the Khan Academy will consider a lecture that presents these two art movements as a dichotomy, providing one of the most important lessons Art History can teach: aesthetics both create, and are created by, the ever-shifting political, economic, and cultural landscapes.

Ross wrote on Monday, November 12, 2012

@Caleb Tavis: This was not a summary of Dada. The title is

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Where and When

New York, USA
ca. 1917
This work is an open educational resource and This work is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.