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Friday, January 6, 2006
Duchamp's Fountain attacked with hammer
On Wednesday, Pierre Pinoncelli attacked a replica of Marcel Duchamp's famous sculpture Fountain on display at the Dada exhibition at the Pompidou Center in Paris. (Previous post about Fountain here.) Apparently, the artwork was only slightly chipped and Pinocelli was arrested. From the New York Times:
Mr. Pinoncelli, 77, who urinated into the same urinal and struck it with a hammer in a show in Nîmes in 1993, has a long record of organizing bizarre happenings. Police officials said he again called his action a work of art, a tribute to Duchamp and other Dada artists.
Indeed, "Fountain" itself was rejected for being neither original nor art when Duchamp offered it for the first exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York in 1917. That version of the urinal, displayed upside down and signed "R. Mutt," was subsequently lost. The Pompidou's "Fountain" is one of eight signed replicas made by Duchamp in 1964.
After the attack on Wednesday, Mr. Pinoncelli was held by the police overnight. He was released on Thursday and ordered to appear in court here on Jan. 24 to answer charges of damaging the property of others. As in 1993, he could face a prison term or a fine. (After the first urinal attack, he was jailed for a month and fined the equivalent of $37,500.)
UPDATE: BB pal Jim Leftwich reminds us that in 1995, Brian Eno collected some of his urine and used plastic tubing to splash it onto Fountain even though the work was displayed behind glass at the MoMA. Link
more from Artforum online:
Fountain Attacker Sentenced
01.25.06 - Pierre Pinoncelli, the seventy-seven-year old Frenchman who attacked Duchamp's celebrated porcelain urinal with a hammer, has been ordered to pay a fine of €214,000 ($262,688) and repair costs of €14,352 ($17,622), the BBC News reports. The Paris court also gave Pinoncelli a three-month suspended sentence for last month's attack at the Pompidou. Fountain, which was on display as part of an exhibition on Dada, is said to be worth around €2.8 million ($3.4 million), and in a December 2004 poll of art experts, was named the most influential modern artwork of all time. Pinoncelli, a performance artist, had argued that the attack was a work of art and that he had made Fountain, one of eight versions of the piece, an original.