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‘Duchamp urinals’ installed in pubic school that aims to defy logic

Fountain 1917, replica 1964 Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968 Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1999

DETROIT—Ten “Duchamp urinals” have been installed in Detroit Pubic School as part of the city’s ongoing effort to increase appreciation for the arts. The toilets are inspired by a controversial piece named Fountain.

Fountain is a porcelain urinal that gained notoriety when the artist Marcel Duchamp signed the name “R. Mutt” on it, calling it—in his attempt to challenge conventional conceptions of art—art. The artist was a prominent member of Dadaism, an early twentieth-century, European avant-garde movement that embraced nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois sentiment in place of logic, reason, aestheticism, and capitalism.

A spokesperson from the Detroit Pubic School said on Thursday, “We are proud to own these functional replicas of Duchamp’s artwork. They are welcome additions to our fantastic pubic education.” Principal James S. Butt called the purchase of the toilets “another victorious battle in our war against reason and rationality.” He added, “We are a school that is way ahead of our times, and we know what the world will become. In the world of tomorrow, there will be no logic. Nonsense will be logic. And logic will be an antiquated concept with which we will have no use.”


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