On Sunday, select museums around the world will observe an important art world anniversary: the centennial of the day when the First Annual Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists opened in New York City without a curious sculpture by one R. Mutt titled “Fountain.” The now-iconic sculpture, which had actually been submitted for inclusion in the supposedly non-juried exhibition by Marcel Duchamp, would go on to become arguably the most famous work of Modern Art.
In honor of the infamous 1917 rejection, several major art museums — including, according to the Art Newspaper, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (home to the world’s largest Duchamp collection), the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and (assuming it reopens between now and then) the Centre Pompidou in Paris — will offer free admission to visitors who, between 3pm and 4pm on Sunday, April 9, say the name “Richard Mutt” when obtaining their ticket. As an added bonus the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which recently opened a special exhibition about the “Fountain” scandal, will host a performance in which members of the Pig Iron Theatre Company reinterpret its most dramatic moments “in a special location.”
The whole international museum initiative was the brainchild of art historian and Duchamp scholar Thomas Grist. Though New York’s Museum of Modern Art is listed as a participating institution by the Art Newspaper, the museum assured Hyperallergic that it will not partake of the Duchampian shenanigans.
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