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Hat Rack Analysis Essay

Hat Rack: The Object as an Artistic Critique
Suspended from the ceiling of the Art Institute of Chicago’s modern wing, and illuminated from the center of the room, Hat Rack (original 1917, 1964 recreation, image 1) hangs from the ceiling, casting shadows upon the wall, which resemble curved shapes protruding outward into space. Marcel Duchamp’s ready-made, Hat Rack is fashioned out of day-to-day objects repurposed as works of art, Hat Rack (1917), is a wooden hat rack, with a mass-produced finish, with six distinct racks emerging from the base. Following a lineage that primarily mocked the institutions of art and life through his avant-garde work Fountain, Hat Rack and other Readymades created by Duchamp display the material world of modernity…

An unassuming furniture fixture became Hat Rack when he chose to suspend it from the ceiling, remove the base that would elevate it from the floor, and call it “art”. Hat Rack stems from the lineage of to his most well-known and first readymade, Fountain (1917 Image 2). Under the guise of R.Mutt, Fountain was denied entry into an “open” exhibition on sculptures, where the only requirement was a 6$ registration fee. In an open letter, Marcel Duchamp argues that “Whether Mr. Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it.” Through taking an ordinary facet of material life, Duchamp under the pseudonym of R.Mutt removed the “useful Significance” of the urinal, elevating it to the status of art, creating a new “Point of view” and “thought” for the…

The powers of Europe, who thought of themselves as the pinnacle of human evolution and civilization lay in ruins. Dadaism responded toward the horrors of WWI as a critique of modernity and modern life. The Dada Manifesto of 1918 , an attempt to explain Dada as well as a written-form of Dadaism in itself, sums up the ideas of Dada with quotes like “Dada means Nothing” and “Some journalists regard it as an art for babies, other holy jesusescallingthelittlechildren of our day” in an attempt to explain the feelings of Dada in written language. Furthermore the quote “‘know thyself’ is utopian but more acceptable, for it embraces wickedness. No Pity. After the carnage we still retain the hope of a purified mankind” Is relevant because it directly conveys the sense of disillusion with the modern world, and its negative effects on society that those within the Dada circle felt after World War…

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