Art poll takes the pissoir for posteriority

ARTISTS took the pissoir this week, naming an upside-down urinal as the most influential modern art work of all time.

Marcel Duchamp’s famous 1917 work, Fountain, has inspired artists from Damien Hirst to Tracey Emin. It came top in a poll of 500 members of the art world carried out in the run-up to next week’s Turner Prize, beating Picasso, Matisse and Andy Warhol.

Duchamp took a white gents’ urinal, signed it and put it on display, declaring that art could take any form.

His ideas shocked the art establishment but sparked a revolution and have influenced contem-porary artists ever since.

Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, painted in 1907 and regarded by many as the first great masterpiece of modern art, came second in the survey by Gordon’s Gin, sponsors of the Turner Prize.

Andy Warhol’s iconic screenprints of Marilyn Monroe, the Marilyn Diptych (1962), came third.

The phrase Pop Art was coined to describe Warhol’s mix of art and popular culture.

Guernica, Picasso’s grim depiction of the Spanish Civil War painted in 1937, was voted fourth.Fifth was The Red Studio by Henri Matisse (1911), influential for its use of colour.

Art expert Simon Wilson said: “The choice of Duchamp’s Fountain as the most influential work of modern art ahead of works by Picasso and Matisse comes as a bit of a shock. But it reflects the dynamic nature of art today and the idea that the creative process that goes into a work of art is the most important thing - the work itself can be made of anything and can take any form.”

Tracey Emin’s unmade bed is one of the most famous works to be inspired by Duchamp.

The use of film and video in art is also part of his legacy.

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