Friday, 5 September 2008


Adrian Lara,
Instalation (banana skin), 2008
A new banana skin is placed anywhere in the exhibition space every day by one of the security guards, exhibition space caretaker, gallerist, curator or collector after he's eaten the banana.

Jesus Bubu Negron
Cigarette Butt Street Rug, 2007
(originally commissioned by the Sharjah Biennial 8,2007)

An Unruly History of the Readymade
curated by Jessica Morgan
september 8, 2008 - february 2009
Fundación/Colección Jumex
Vía Morelos 272, Col. Sta. María Tulpetlac,
Ecatepec, Estado de México C.P. 55400
T. +52 (55) 5775 8188 ext 103

Taking the groundbreaking introduction of the Readymade by Marcel Duchamp in 1913 as a starting point, this exhibition will stage an unruly (disobedient, argumentative, and perhaps contradictory) history of the consequences of this gesture. Duchamp’s readymade is not only one of the defining moments for modern and contemporary art, but has proven to be a continuous project, re-energized, re-discovered, and re-thought by numerous generations, cultures and various art histories up to the present day resulting in a complex, socially and culturally expanded concept. Among the many developments of the notion of the readymade that will be explored in the exhibition are those represented by the work of American artists in the 1950’s and 60s whose belated rediscovery of the readymade through direct contact with the artist and his work in New York resulted in a reinvigoration of painting and sculpture; the prevalence in the work of artists emerging in the 1980s of readymade consumer objects and source materials; the introduction of photographic work that could be characterised by the use of the found readymade; and the numerous sculptural and conceptual developments in Europe, US and in particular Latin America that have made use of the readymade as found sculpture bringing with it the multitude of associative meanings therein. Relying as it does on the work available from a private collection, albeit one that extends to over 3000 objects, the unruly nature of this history of the readymade is also a reflection of the circumscribed character of the exhibition, a definition that also allows for the experimental and even playful, as opposed to rigorously art historical, development of a lineage of this most important breakthrough in the history of art.

To recap: readymade is the term used by the French artist Marcel Duchamp to describe works of art he made from manufactured objects. His earliest readymades included Bicycle Wheel of 1913, a wheel mounted on a wooden stool, and In Advance of the Broken Arm of 1915, a snow shovel inscribed with that title. In 1917 in New York, Duchamp made his most notorious readymade, Fountain, a urinal signed by the artist with a false name and exhibited placed on its back. Later readymades could be more elaborate and were referred to by Duchamp as assisted readymades. The theory behind the readymade was explained in an article, anonymous but almost certainly by Duchamp himself, in the May 1917 issue of the magazine The Blind Man produced by Duchamp and two friends: 'Whether Mr Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, and placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view—created a new thought for that object.' There are three important points here: first, that the choice of object is itself a creative act. Secondly, that by canceling the 'useful' function of an object it becomes art. Thirdly, that the presentation and addition of a title to the object have given it 'a new thought', a new meaning. Duchamp's readymades also asserted the principle that what is art is defined by the artist.

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