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c. 1917
Morton Livingston Schamberg (American, 1881–1918) , and Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (German, 1874–1927)
In 1900 American writer Henry Adams contrasted the dynamo engine to the Virgin Mary as the icon of a new age, and in 1930 American poet Hart Crane would salute the Brooklyn Bridge as the altar of a new God. Consisting of an inverted household plumbing trap mounted on a wooden miter box, this construction offers a more tongue-in-cheek eulogy to the machine. Members of the New York Dadaists, Morton Schamberg and Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven used irony and irreverence to topple artistic conventions. God shares a spiritual kinship with Marcel Duchamp’s notorious Fountain of 1917, a porcelain urinal turned on its side, and invokes Duchamp’s equivocal praise of plumbing and bridges as America’s greatest contributions to civilization.

Object Details

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