DuChamp's Ready-Mades

Christine Alfery

Posted on April 21 2022

DuChamp's Ready-Mades

Featured image: Sandpiper II


Recently I read “From the Editor” in Artist's Magazine March/April 2022 Edition. She titled her comments, “The Power of the Imagination.” Editor in Chief, Anne Hevener, stated that “the expectation for artwork that’s said to be based on an artist’s “imagination” is a piece of the art that’s either wholly abstract or that depicts strange, dreamlike imaginary, but all artist – no matter the subject or style they favor – rely on the imagination. In fact, you can begin to make art if you can’t first imagine how to bring a … subject to life. Anytime an artist is depicting a subject that’s not present for observation or that has never been perceived in real life, artists turn to the imagination. Even when working directly from life, however and seeking to create a recognizable rendering, artist take numerous creative liberties. They interpret, color, remove extraneous details, from a scene, invent an alternative sky or introduce the different background for something. …. Art should communicate something from the artist’s inner world.”


This inner world, this something is what is missing in today’s art establishment. Since Marcel DuChamp’s “Broken Glass” also known as “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors,” and his theory of conceptual art and ready-mades, Post-modern art culture has become one big happy meal, void of value, void of taste and void of the artist. Ready-made objects like sharks in a tank, a banana on a wall, a vacuum cleaner or Michael Jackson's ceramic, to list a few, are what the art establishment is labeling as art. No longer does art “communicate something from the artist’s inner world” as Anne Hevener suggests. No longer does art need the imaginary. But to replace the artist is the ideology, the conceptions and the politics of those writing about what art is and what is good and bad art.


DuChamp’s theories replaced the expressionistic styles of the abstract expressionists. It replaced he expressionistic style of an artist’s inner world and the expressionistic style of an artist's senses and experiences. DuChamp's theories restricts, lost is the freedom found in the expressionistic style, the potential skills of an individual artist, limits the development of the creative capacities of the mind and limits the visual voice.


What do DuChamp's conceptual ready-mades say about our culture? His conceptual theories and ready-mades say just that our culture, our art today is a ready-made. And even more tragic it says that our artists are ready-mades with no conceptual idea of how to explore and discover with an artist’s experiences, senses, intuits and their art. Duchamp’s art establishment is void of personal input and expression. No wonder wall art is so popular! It is a ready-made and it matches the sofa.

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