Marjorie Perloff's talk on the exhibition context for Duchamp's 'Fountain'

Marjorie Perloff visited the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia for most of four days this week – as a Kelly Writers House Fellow. For three hours on Monday, she met with 21 undergraduates in the so-called Writers House Fellows Seminar; they had read and discussed her writings for the previous five weeks. That evening – April 25, 2011 – she gave a 55-minute talk that, in part, offered the full context for Marcel Duchamp's attempt to exhibit his pseudonymous readymade, "Fountain" (1917).  At the time Duchamp was a board member of the Society of Independent Artists,  and submitted the piece under the name R. Mutt to the group's 1917 exhibition, which, it had been proclaimed, would show all work submitted. After consternated discussion by members of the board about whether "Fountain" was art, it was decided that the work should not be shown. Perloff looked at many of the thousands of paintings and sculptures that were on display at the exhibit, and researched some of the mostly unknown exhibiting artists – and offers us a series of surprising contextualizations, including at least one connection that might provide a pleasant shock.

The video recording begins with a contextual introduction by Al Filreis, which is followed by a substantive introduction to Marjorie Perloff by one of the students in the Fellows seminar (Rivka Fogel). Because of the Jewish holiday, Rivka was unable to have her voice mechanically amplified by a microphone, so it is hard if not impossible to hear her. If you want to go directly to Perloff's lecture, skip ahead to 11:49 (on the leftside counter).

And here is an audio-only recording (mp3) – streamable and also downloadable.