Marcel Duchamp (28 July 1887 – 2 October 1968; French pronunciation: was a French/American artist whose work is most often associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. Duchamp’s output influenced the development of post-World War I Western art. He advised modern art collectors, such as Peggy Guggenheim and other prominent figures, thereby helping to shape the tastes of Western art during this period. Marcel Duchamp’s philosophy of “found art” has greatly influenced electronic music artists, including those of the Musique concrète and Industrial genres.
A playful man, Duchamp challenged conventional thought about artistic processes and art marketing, not so much by writing, but through subversive actions such as dubbing a urinal art and naming it Fountain. He produced relatively few artworks, while moving quickly through the avant-garde circles of his time.
“The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”
New York Dada had a less serious tone than that of European Dadaism, and was not a particularly organized venture. Duchamp’s friend Picabia connected with the Dada group in Zürich, bringing to New York the Dadaist ideas of absurdity and “anti-art”. A group met almost nightly at the Arensberg home, or caroused in Greenwich Village. Together with Man Ray, Duchamp contributed his ideas and humor to the New York activities, many of which ran concurrent with the development of his Readymades and The Large Glass. They also worked on the concept of “found art”.
The most prominent example of Duchamp’s association with Dada was his submission of Fountain, a urinal, to the Society of Independent Artists exhibit in 1917. Artworks in the Independent Artists shows were not selected by jury, and all pieces submitted were displayed. However, the show committee insisted that Fountain was not art, and rejected it from the show. This caused an uproar amongst the Dadaists, and led Duchamp to resign from the board of the Independent Artists.
Along with Henri-Pierre Roché and Beatrice Wood, Duchamp published a Dada magazine in New York, entitled The Blind Man, which included art, literature, humor and commentary.
When he returned to Paris after World War I, Duchamp did not participate in the Dada group.