Marcel Duchamp “Fountain” / hammer, urine
(Duchamp’s infamous 1917 sculpture has been vandalized (or “intervened”) on numerous occasions:
1) Musician/artist Brian Eno claimed to be the first to urinate into the work, while it was on display at the MOMA in 1995. As he wrote in his book A Year With Swollen Appendices: “I positioned myself before the display case, concentrating intensely on its contents. There was a guard standing behind be and 12 feet away. I opened my fly and slipped out the tube, feeding it carefully through the slot in the glass. It was a perfect fit and slid in quite easily until its end was poised above the famous john. I released my thumb and a small but distinct trickle of my urine splashed on the work of art.”
2) French artist Pierre Pinoncelli urinated into the piece while it was on display in Nimes, France in 1993. Later, in 2006, while “Fountain” was on display in Paris, the then 76-year-old Pinoncelli attacked the work with a hammer, causing a slight chip. Upon being arrested, Pinoncelli said the attack was a work of performance art that Duchamp himself would have appreciated.
3) Chinese performance art duo Yuan Chai and Jian Jun Xi urinated on the work while it was on display in London in 2000. They were prevented from soiling the sculpture directly by its Perspex case. When asked why they felt they had to add to Duchamp’s work, Chai said, “The urinal is there – it’s an invitation. As Duchamp said himself, it’s the artist’s choice. He chooses what is art. We just added to it.”
4) South African artist Kendell Geers urinated into the work while it was on display in Venice in 1993.
5) Swedish artist Björn Kjelltoft urinated into the work while it was on diplay in Stockholm in 1999.)