Duchamp’s Urinal

Marcel Duchamp’s ready-made urinal has been voted the most influential work of art of all time by 500 art experts. Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” and “Guernica” paintings must have felt a little peeved at missing out on the top spot to a toilet.

“Art experts” have been wrong before though..

marcel duchamp urinalDuchamp’s urinal tops art survey

Duchamp shocked the art establishment when he took the urinal, signed it and put it on display in 1917.

“The choice of Duchamp’s Fountain as the most influential work of modern art ahead of works by Picasso and Matisse comes as a bit of a shock,” said art expert Simon Wilson.


See also, Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. I think this vote is correct. “Fountian” completely changed the way the world looked at art. Duchamp single handedly shaped the direction the art world would go and is the reason art is what it is today. While not the most aesthetically pleasing I believe Duchamp’s “Foutain” is the most influential work of art.

  2. True story, Duchamp has had more influence on contemproary critical and conceptual art than perhaps any one person or idea.

  3. I think Duchamp has been mostly misinterpreted and over-aesthetisized. Read my take here: http://www.mmbeyer.com/Papers/Art_History/Mike's/Duchamp.htm

  4. Any artist that opens up the possibilities of new media is alright by me, however many will disagree.

  5. Duchamp is probably turning over in his grave – to hide the laughter.

  6. Anonymous says:

    A signed urinal is the greatest expression of modern art? People must be grasping at loose ends to find meaningful symbolism in their lives.

  7. You must see the “American Standard Voting Urinal by Liette” urinal at http://www.liettebath.com. One photo says it all

  8. Clement Greenberg was correct to observe that the whole Duchampian position was essentially anticipated by the eighteenth-century notion of the “aesthetic attitude.” Once it was recognized that anything whatsoever could be a work of art if contemplated aesthetically, then presenting such objects as Duchamp’s Urinal in the museum merely involved drawing the consequences of this Kantian position, though admittedly with examples which would have bewildered Kant.

  9. I believe “Fountain” Duchamps Urinal lowered the bar so low on what art could be. That the art buyer could now dictate the art market, because anyone “they” said was an artist now was. Removing all skill, removed the barrier to entry, leaving the art business in charge of what they decided was good. Leading to an emperors new clothes effect on the art world.

    This pieces is only influence is that it allows the unskilled to be hailed as artists, and the perpetuation of the myth must be upheld to keep the value of the rubbish that is produced.


  1. [...] There’s people as works of art, silly art, nature’s art, easel art, word art, ugly art, toilet art, car art, rubbish art, realistic art, crazy art, money art, shit art, and so on. Everything is art, [...]

  2. […] pure, virginal and having the qualities of the Virgin Mary from a Renaissance painting. It might be an influential work, but you can only read so many things into a signed urinal before sounding […]

  3. […] surveys have come to the conclusion that Duchamp’s Urinal is the most influential work of all time, but as a lover of paint, I would much rather have a painting at the top of the […]

  4. […] with Pierre Pinoncelli, the 77-year-old French performance artist who on January 4 took a hammer to Duchamp’s famous urinal, Fountain, in the Dada show at the Pompidou Center. As with most bad artists, Mr. Pinoncelli was repeating […]

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