In this activity you will explore how Marcel Duchamp challenged accepted definitions of art.
Part 1: Your Own Readymade
At home, select an object that you would like to present as readymade art. Choose something unconventional that may challenge your peers' definitions of what art can be.
Give your readymade a title that you think describes it or adds to its meaning.
Write an object label that describes the artwork. Include its size, materials, color, shape, where you found it, and any other details that make it interesting. Include your name as the artist.
Bring the readymade and its label to school and exhibit it in the classroom. Tour your classmates' readymades, and then present yours orally to the class. After the presentations, hold a class discussion. Are all of these objects works of art? Why or why not?
Part 2:An Alter Ego
Create an artistic alter ego, or alternate identity, for yourself, similar to Marcel Duchamp's 'R. Mutt.' This alter ego could be a reference to someone you admire, or it could be a fictional character.
Write a character description of your alter ego, explaining the type of artist he or she is, as if your alter ego had chosen your readymade object in the previous activity. Select a new name for your character. Be sure to explain why he or she chose that readymade object as art.
Share your character sketch with your classmates.
Do you think an object can become a work of art simply because an artist selects it? Write in your journal about how you think Duchamp changed the definition of art.