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fountain
created for the Re:Dada exhibition at Swissnex, SF, celebrating 100 years of Dada
2016

Poor Raoul [Haussman]... he needed constant encouragement to carry out his ideas and achieve anything at all lasting. If I hadn’t devoted so much of my time to looking after him I might have achieved more myself.
– Hannah Höch, the only female member of the Berlin Dadaists

fountain is a reimagining of Marcel Duchamp's 1917 Fountain in light of accounts that Duchamp did not actually create Fountain, but submitted it on behalf of a female friend (possibly Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven or Louise Norton). This version features a GoGirl™ female urination device, which allows a woman to urinate standing up, much as a man does at a urinal. It also features a public-domain image of Series 1, No. 8 by Georgia O'Keeffe, instead of Mardsen Hartley's rather masculine (and urinal-echoing) 1913 painting The Warriors that provided the backdrop for Fountain when it was originally photographed by Alfred Stieglitz (who went on to marry O'Keeffe). Like Fountain, fountain recontextualizes an industrially-produced, gendered urination device that seems not to belong the in gallery. Unlike Fountain, this piece places the device into a context that recognizes the underplayed role of gender, even within a movement as liberatory as Dada.

The urination device is signed "F. Med," after FemmeMed, the manufacturer of the device, since the "R. Mutt" signature on Fountain is thought to have referred in part to "J. L. Mott Iron Works," the supposed manufacturer of the urinal. Fountain proposed an industrially designed object in a fine art context; the female urination device itself is a hyperdesigned object, having been CAD/CAM engineered and refined over many years to fit a woman's body.



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