When the Dada artist, Marcel Duchamp, submitted a signed urinal to the Society of Independent Artists, entitled Fountain, in 1917, the work was accepted after much debate over whether or not it was “art.” Although Fountain was hidden from view during the show, it is considered one of the most influential art pieces of the 20th century. How pervasive are the effects today of the piece and of Duchamp himself? Of what scope and relevance is the separation between “high” and “low” art? What role have money and humor played in the art world, historically and contemporaneously?
Photo by Viera Levitt
Bert Crenca is the founder and Artistic Director of AS220, a non-profit center for the arts founded in 1985 to provide a local arts forum and home that is unjuried and uncensored. He is a teacher, visual artist, and performing artist with a long academic, exhibition, and performance history. His work is in the permanent collection of both The Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design and the Newport Art Museum. In addition he has been a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, The Ford Foundation, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council among others. In 2003 he was awarded a scholarship to the Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management course at University of Harvard Business School.
Francis Naumann, PH.D. is an independent scholar, curator, and art dealer specializing in art of the Dada and Surrealist periods. He is the author of numerous articles and exhibition catalogues, including New York Dada 1915-1925, considered to be the definitive history of the movement, and has organized exhibitions for the Whitney Museum of American Art, the American Craft Museum in New York, and the Montclair Art Museum among others.
Johanna Ruth Epstein is a Lecturer on Art History and Visual Culture at the Rhode Island School of Design and an Assistant Professor of Art at Hollins University. She is a frequent contributor to ARTnews magazine.