The term ready-made was coined for this artist and basically means using existing objects and creating artwork with them. Marcel Duchamp was probably one of the first artists to create ready-made art.
Bicycle Wheel is a bicycle wheel attached upside down to a stool. Marcel displayed the work at the entrance to his studio and upon being asked about it, replied that ‘I made it as I like to look at it, it creates atmosphere.’. Apparently Marcel used to sit and spin it when deep in thought, finding that it aided his thinking processes. Unfortunately the work was destroyed in a fire sometime later although replica’s have been made.
Fountain – a urinal simply signed as “R mutt” (one of his fantasy names which Marcel liked to use) is just that. A urinal. There is nothing special about this urinal, nothing altered, nothing changed except of the addition of the name.
Both pieces of work have us as the audience questioning our perception of art, and whether everyday objects, such as a urinal, can be classed as art? Personally my answer would be yes. Anything that has had thought and a design process going into it, however mundane can be classed as art. The sofa we sit on, is that art? Our shelves in the kitchen? Our car? Processes and work have gone into these items to make them functional as well as pleasing to the eye, every part has been carefully considered so why can it not be art? Anything can be art and I like the idea that art can be whatever we want it to be. To me, anything that makes us question whether it is art deserves to be given that title.