Education and Community

An invitation to respond to the 100 year anniversary of Marcel Duchamp's Fountain.

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Fountain17 is a collaboration between Art and Industry; between Ideal Standard (UK), Hull School of Art and Design and the arts community in Hull. We are celebrating the dual anniversaries of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (100 years) and Armitage Shanks (200 years) in 2017, when Hull is City of Culture.


Fountain will be the catalyst for a broad range of creative activity but the ‘main event’ will be a series of exhibitions in which we are inviting artists, poets and designers to respond to Duchamp’s intervention by creating new works in a variety of media. These will then be exhibited in Hull, York and Stoke (near the Ideal Standard factory in Armitage). We are investigating a venue in London.

At the same time we are planning a parallel student exhibition to open in Hull, at the Hull School of Art and Design’s Brodrick gallery, opening on 1st April 2017.

How you and your students can get involved

We are inviting students to use Duchamp’s Fountain as a starting point for their own creative work. This may be concept driven, process based, aesthetic, experimental or
materials-led. Outcomes may be sculptural, photographic or performative, and can include functional design solutions. We also welcome written/text based ideas (Duchamp was very experimental and playful in his use and misuse of words). This is a very open brief in order that tutors can incorporate this project opportunity into course/programme planning and assignments. We have no preconceptions as to what might be produced, however we have included some possible starting points:

  • Chance, coincidence, synchronicity and serendipity
  • Readymades and appropriation
  • Replicas and miniatures
  • The transformation of domestic objects
  • Resituated, reoriented and renamed
  • Homonyms – Duchamp connected words that happen to sound similar in order to unleash new and unexpected associations and meanings Over the summer we are planning to prepare more information on each of these starting points and ‘packs’ will be available in September.

Student Essays

In addition we are planning a catalogue to accompany the student exhibition and would like to include some student essays. This could be research in to an aspect of Duchamp’s work, or a contemporary artist who has been influenced by Duchamp, perhaps in their use of existing and readymade objects or images. We would like students to devise their own research questions and make connections between Duchamp’s work and contemporary art.

Duchamp’s original gesture transformed a mass produced object into art and thus explored the boundary between art and life and between the one-off and the mass produced. Students could use this as a starting point for their research – for example to examine artists who explore the relationship between art and industry/ manufacturing processes.

Once again these are only suggested starting points for student research and essay writing in order that tutors can interpret and integrate the brief in the light of their courses/programmes.

Essays should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words, illustrated and referenced.

Teachers and lecturers may like to build these opportunities into their courses/curricula in the first term/semester of academic year 2016/17.

Time Frame

September 2016
Programme and Course leaders to register their interest in Fountain17.

September 2016-January 2017
Students briefed and projects take place accompanied by briefings and workshops by the project team/contributing artists.

January 31st 2017
Art works and essays completed. Staff to notify project team of the number and type of entries and arrange delivery/collection.

January – March 2017
Selection of work, organisation of catalogue.

April 2017
Exhibition opens at the Brodrick Gallery, Hull School of Art and Design. Lectures and related events throughout April.

December 2017
Staff/students to contribute to a reflection/ evaluation event.

Who is eligible to take part?

Any student studying at school, college or university in academic year 2016/17.

We are primarily opening this up to school, college and university students in Hull. However we are inviting responses from partner colleges in other towns and cities with the potential for exchanges and exhibitions.

What happens next?

If you are interested in your students contributing to this project we simply ask you to contact the project team by the end of September 2016 to give us an idea of the number of students and the type of work involved.

We then ask you to contact us by the end of January 2017 to confirm the number and type of work being entered. We can then arrange delivery/collection.

Once you’ve registered interest we can keep you informed of any lectures or workshops we are running that will support your delivery. We are hoping that some of our contributing artists will contribute to this programme.

Please contact us with your ideas, suggestions and requests.

What's in it for students?

We hope that being involved in the project will provide the starting point and resources for exciting creative work. It will also allow students to investigate the routes of contemporary art and perhaps to situate their own practice. Students can also be involved through research and essay writing to develop their academic skills and critical thinking. They can ask questions about the nature of art.

Students will have the opportunity to take part in an exhibition of their work and will be involved in events attached to the wider project. They will meet students from other organisations and professional artists and extend their networks of connections. There may also be the opportunity for the student exhibition to travel to other venues and for student exchanges with other colleges/schools taking part.

In addition we are offering 3 ‘prizes’ of £500 – donated by Ideal Standard.

There will be 2 prizes for art works (any media including creative writing). There is an under and over 18 category. As with all the exhibitions we will be looking for innovative, thought provoking and surprising responses which will contribute to an exciting and varied exhibition.

There will also be a prize for the student essay which best demonstrates strengths in research,
resourcefulness and critical enquiry in to Duchamp’s work or his legacy.


1. The Fountain17 team are developing resources that will available on line and as ‘packs’ from September 2016 – see

2. Duchamp’s Fountain ( the 1964 replica) is displayed in the recently opened extension to the Tate Modern – The Boiler House, West (Explore Materials and Objects)

3. See also the following current exhibitions which can be seen in the light of Duchamp’s legacy:
– Found curated by Cornelia Parker (The Foundling Museum, London until 4th September 2016)
– Mona Hatoum at the Tate Modern until 21st August 2016

4. Both the Tate and The Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art have excellent resources:

Basualdo, C. and Erica F. Battle, E.F. (eds.) (2012)
Dancing around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and Duchamp, The Philedelphia Museum of Art

Girst, T. (2014) The Duchamp Dictionary, London,nThames and Hudson

Haladyn, J.J., (2015) ‘On “The Creative Act”’,
[online] Available at: [accessed 16th March 2016]

Sanouillet, M. and Peterson, E. (eds.) (1975)
The Essential Writings of Marcel Duchamp, Thames and Hudson Schwarz, A. (2008) ‘The Philosophy of the
Readymade and of its Editions’, in Mundy, J.(ed.) (2008) Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia, London, Tate Publishing

Seigel, J. (1995) The Private Worlds of Marcel Duchamp: Desire, Liberation and the Self in Modern Culture, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London 1995


Jill Howitt; Hull School of Art and Design:

Tony Rheinberg; Ideal Standard:


Appendix 1

Fountain17 is built on three elements that happen to coincide through anniversaries and celebrations in 2017. For more information about each see our web site

Marcel Duchamp and Fountain
In April 1917 French artist Marcel Duchamp submitted his ‘readymade’ Fountain to the Society of Independent Artists’ first exhibition in New York. Fountain was a pre-existing manufactured urinal, signed ‘R.Mutt’; which Duchamp selected, turned on its back and presented for exhibition. This action redirected the trajectory of 20th century art and in 2004, 500 elected art professionals voted Fountain the most influential artwork of the 20th century.

Armitage Shanks

In 1817 Thomas Bond, a brick maker in the village of Armitage, built a bottle kiln and began manufacturing tableware sold under the name Armitage Ware. In 1969 Armitage Ware merged with Shanks, a Scottish ceramics manufacturer and created Armitage Shanks. In 1998 Ideal Standard purchased Armitage Shanks. Armitage Shanks remains a brand within the Ideal Standard UK Company brand portfolio today and is used primarily to market washrooms and bathrooms within Commercial sectors. Armitage Shanks enjoys over 50% market share of the urinal market. Ideal Standard has been an employer within Hull for over a hundred years.

Hull and City of Culture

In 2013 Hull were successful in their bid to be City of Culture 2017. The first UK City of Culture was Londonderry in 2013. The initiative was set up as a response to Liverpool’s success as European City of Culture in 2008 and the resulting economic and social benefits that were brought to the city. The Hull City of Culture company are planning to deliver ‘365 days of transformative cultural activity’ which will be divided in to four ‘seasons’ The team intend to celebrate the ‘unique character of the city, its people, history and geography’. Hull is already a city of culture with a tradition of temporary and experimental initiatives that have challenged convention and connected art and place in new and unexpected ways. Hull’s successful bid for City of Culture has precipitated some interest in this recent past. New works have been created from the archives of organisations such as Hull Time Based Arts.

“Are not the surreal, the extraordinary,
the surprising even the magical also
part of the real?”
Henri Lefebvre