Review of “Readymades” and Chemists’ Tea Mug by Hanke Chen

Review of “Ready-Mades”

French artist Marcel Duchamp introduced the idea of "readymade" as manufactured ordinary objects that were slightly modified for the exhibition. The artists' choice of putting the seemingly dull object in the exhibition provokes the audience wonder and their own interpretation of the art by indicating that there are additional meanings beyond the functionality of the object. Taking the idea of "readymade", modern artist Sadie Barnette uses objects in the exhibition Dear to simply tell a story of young activists in the Black Power Movement. Much like Barnette, artist Kevin Beasley also uses a historical object, a cotton gin motor, to tell the story of slavery. Similarly, Piero Manzoni uses a manufactured can to critique consumerism that happened in Italy. However, Brian Jungen takes the idea differently, instead of taking the object as it is, Jungen assembles multiple objects together in a way that creates new forms. His assembly of chairs into whale skeletons, as well as his series of work called Treasure, transformed the functionality of the components into abstract modernist sculptures that represent his own identity (Dane-zaa heritage). Artist Louis Nevelson's work Black Wall uses this approach similarly. Instead of focusing on the form of the artwork as Nevelson and Jungen did, artists Fischli and Weiss took advantage of the relationship of the "readymades" to make the artwork Equilibres to express the beauty of balance. Tracy Emin’s work My Bed opens another possibility of using the artists' own belongings to make art. My Bed transform the historical definition of "readymade" into a definition similar to "found object". Besides the artist's own room, Sarah Lucas makes use of her own body (as well as some manufactured furniture) to assemble artworks. These modern artists expand the definition of "readymades". But nevertheless, they all take advantage of ordinary objects and make them in a way to create new meanings.

My Own “Readymade”

Chemists' Tea Mug

Chemists' Tea Mug

Title: Chemists' Tea Mug by Hanke Chen
Date: Sep.2 2020

Let me brew a beaker of tea for you. How much sugar do you need?

Hanke Chen Sep.2

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