When “R. Mutt” famously submitted that inverted porcelain urinal to the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists, it sparked a pissing war. “Could this object be perceived as art?” “Does it matter whether or not the artist made or purchased it?” But mostly I think the judges were concerned about being perceived as fools by allowing a friggin’ urinal to be included in their exhibition. Ironically, had they allowed “Fountain” to be shown rather than disposing of it, controversy and conversation about the piece might have ended there — or been regarded as a silly joke. Instead, their act was a game-changer, opening a dialogue about the piece that wound up launching the name Duchamp into the same floppily twisted sphere as Dali. All that remains of the original “Fountain” is one black and white photograph. Picking up where that 1917 exhibition left off is a new collective of artistic puzzle-solvers, hell-bent on exploring deeper this conversation of authenticity, ownership, repurposing and the processes’ eventual reception. The Art Foundation is a collaborative effort by local artists and arts champions and it presents its inaugural show, Fountainhead, in an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. The assemblage features work by local and international artists, each presenting their own perspective on that remaining black and white photo of R. Mutt’s wizzer. It takes place at Gibson Company Lofts, 824 Exposition Ave., No. 6.
Sat., April 14, 2012