Marcel Duchamp also wanted to dispel the myth that artists are a higher form of human and that somehow they deserve the kudos that is bestowed upon them just because it’s perceived that they have exceptional insight, wisdom and intelligence.
He thought the majority of artists took themselves and were taken far too seriously.
Fountain was actually rejected by the committee of the 1917 Independence Exhibition, when it arrived it was met with revulsion and dislike and the overall feeling was the ‘R Mutt’ was trying to make fools out of them.
Duchamp was challenging the organisation and their manifesto, that he was a member of and had helped to write, to dare to take on the ‘art establishment’ and show the art world a new liberal progressive set of principals.
It was meant to be : “If you were an artist and paid your entrance fee, then your work got exhibited”…..the conservatives won the battle that day, but as we now know, they lost the war.
The item was deemed too offensive and vulgar on the grounds that it was a urinal, a subject that was apparently not a suitable topic of discussion for middle-class Americans.
Duchamp and his team immediately resigned from the board.
Fountain was never seen in public, or ever again. (……Replicas have existed of course.)