Duchamp's 'Readymades' and the Making of Contemporary Art

Duchamp's 'Readymades' and the Making of Contemporary Art

When surveying the diverse and often difficult works on display in modern art galleries, it's always tempting to ask: 'what exactly is contemporary art?'

Director of the Hayward Gallery in London Ralph Rugoff offers one answer to this contentious question: that 'contemporary art is defiant about defying any attempt to define it' --- and it wholly embraces this ambiguity. Rugoff credits Marcel Duchamp's concept of the 'readymade' as the watershed moment for contemporary art as we know it, the word and form arising from his repurposing of a prefabricated object as sculpture. In this video, Rugoff examines how Duchamp's concept has ricocheted through art history, touching upon works by modern and contemporary masters such as Jasper Johns, Gerhard Richter, Damien Hirst and Jeremy Deller.

Time Period:

20th century


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