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Collections Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A.P.)

Collections Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A.P.)

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Image
Courtesy Walker Art Center
Rights
Copyright retained by the artist

Copyright

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Title
Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A.P.)
Date
1991
Dimensions
overall 14.5 × 14.25 × 25 inches
Materials
bronze
Location
Not on view

Object Details

Type
Mixed Media (Multiples)
Accession Number
1992.153
Edition
A.P. 1; edition of 6
Inscriptions
On side stamp (incised) underside “A.P. 19”; stamped (incised) underside “S L AP 1”; scratched three places underside “5960”
Credit Line
T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1992

object label Sherrie Levine, Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A. P.) (1991) Walker Art Center, 1999

I try to make art which celebrates doubt and uncertainty. Which provokes answers but doesn’t give them. Which withholds absolute meaning by incorporating parasite meanings. Which suspends meaning while perpetually dispatching you toward interpretation, urging you beyond dogmatism, beyond doctrine, beyond ideology, beyond authority.–Sherrie Levine

Since the early 1980s, Sherrie Levine has made a career out of re-using–or appropriating–famous works of art, often by making new versions of them and placing them in different contexts. Throughout her career, Levine has created art based on works by prominent male artists from the early 20th century in order to underscore the relative absence of women in the art world at that time. Her sources have included Walker Evans' photographs and Constantin Brancusi’s sculptures. Levine’s piece, entitled Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A. P.), is inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (1917).

When Levine’s Fountain is compared with Duchamp’s sculpture, it is apparent that it is not an exact copy. Most notably, Duchamp’s piece was an actual urinal, turned upside-down and unaltered except for his signature. He believed he could transform such mass-produced, everyday objects into artworks merely by proclaiming them so, and called them “readymades.” In contrast, Levine’s sculpture is a contemporary urinal cast in the sculptor’s traditional precious metal, bronze. Polished to a brilliant shine, this piece is no longer a common, store-bought item; it has been transformed by the artist into a unique object.

Label text for Sherrie Levine, Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A. P.) (1991), from the exhibition Art in Our Time: 1950 to the Present, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 1999 to September 2, 2001.

Copyright 1999 Walker Art Center

object label Descriptive text for Sherrie Levine, Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A.P.) (1991), Walker Art Center. Walker Art Center, 1998

This sculpture by Sherrie Levine, entitled Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A.P.) is inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (1917).

Since the early 1980s, Levine has made a career out of re-using–or appropriating–famous works of art, often by making new versions of them and placing them in different contexts. Throughout her career, Levine has created art based on works by prominent male artists from the early 20th century in order to underscore the relative absence of women in the art world at that time. In addition to Duchamp, her sources include Walker Evans' photographs and Constantin Brancusi’s sculptures.

What’s so special about a copy of a famous work of art? If you compare Levine’s Fountain with Duchamp’s sculpture, you’ll notice that it’s not an exact copy. Most notably, Duchamp’s piece was an actual urinal, turned upside down and unaltered except for his signature. He believed he could transform such mass-produced, everyday objects into artworks merely by proclaiming them so. He called these works “readymades.” In contrast, Levine’s Fountain is a contemporary urinal cast in a precious metal–bronze, the traditional material for casting sculpture. Polished to a brilliant shine, this work is no longer a common, store-bought object but something quite unique. Levine’s Fountain is placed at the entrance to the permanent collection exhibition galleries as a hint at the changes that have taken place in art over our century. Moreover, this sculpture shows that today’s artistic innovations continue to be built on the achievements of the past.

Sherrie Levine talks about her work
“I try to make art which celebrates doubt and uncertainty. Which provokes answers but doesn’t give them. Which withholds absolute meaning by incorporating parasite meanings. Which suspends meaning while perpetually dispatching you toward interpretation, urging you beyond dogmatism, beyond doctrine, beyond ideology, beyond authority.”

Descriptive text for Sherrie Levine, Fountain (after Marcel Duchamp: A.P.) (1991), Walker Art Center.

Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center