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Readymade

In the early 20th century a posse of Dadaist artists dragged objects out of hardware stores and dusty closets, put them on pedistals and called them art. While typically attributed to Marcel Duchamp, the performance artist and wonderful weirdo Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven may have kicked off the idea by submitting a urinal signed 'R. Mutt' to an art show organized by Duchamp. First officially defined in André Breton and Paul Éluard's Dictionnaire abrégé du Surréalisme, a readymade is "an ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist." Readymades were intended to be a slap in the face to traditional ideas about what art is and how it's valued, and it worked. 

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Enduring Ornament

Enduring Ornament

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven1913
Bicycle Wheel

Bicycle Wheel

Marcel Duchamp1913
Bottle Rack

Bottle Rack

Marcel Duchamp1914
In Advance of the Broken Arm

In Advance of the Broken Arm

Marcel Duchamp1915
"God"

"God"

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven1917
L.H.O.O.Q.

L.H.O.O.Q.

Marcel Duchamp1919
Why Not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy?

Why Not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy?

Marcel Duchamp1921
Rotary Demisphere (Precision Optics)

Rotary Demisphere (Precision Optics)

Marcel Duchamp1925