Aesthetics Satire

Doctor Who And Duchamp

Duchamp’s readymades are acts of ontological transubstantiation, they nominate non-artistic objects as artworks. This is aesthetic blasphemy.

Nominating a non-art object as an artwork requires that the object not be an art object. But imagine that you have a time machine. Now you can go back in time to ancient Rome or Greece with any non-art object the artist seeks to nominate as an artwork and have it accepted as a work of art. Not declared, displayed and accepted.

Assuming you avoid paradoxes, the object will not have been nominated as an art object and will never have been a non-art object. Is this just nomination at an extra level of indirection, or does it undo the readymade?

(From a conversation with Evie.)

2 replies on “Doctor Who And Duchamp”

Whether something is art depends upon whether someone considers it art. It doesn’t matter if it has not yet been considered art, or already has been considered art.
Similarly, if someone considers an artwork a readymade, it only requires that THEY previously considered it a non-art object. If they expect their audience to consider it a readymade, they must expect their audience to also previously have considered it a non-art object.
Art is not absolute.

Art may not be an absolute but to (mis-)quote Art & Language “paintings have the impertinence to look like artworks whether we want them to or not”.
For a readymade, it does matter if society has already considered it art. The entire point of a readymade is that it was a non-art object before it was nominated as an art object. A readymade’s status as art is not aesthetic, it is nominative. As you say, it only matters if a given person regards an object as non-art. But my point is that giving a would-be readymade an aesthetic history upsets this for at least the entire class of individuals known as the artworld.
Also it is funny. 😉

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