Current time:0:00Total duration:2:44
0 energy points

"Bicycle Wheel" by Marcel Duchamp, 1951 | MoMA Education

Video transcript
- Hi, my name is Jackie Delamatre, I'm a School Programs Educator here at the Museum of Modern Art. And this is Bicycle Wheel by Marcel Duchamp. It's a work that I think is really great to talk to kids about what is art. What makes something art. When I bring kids into this room what I'll do is I'll have them sit all the way around the white platform here, and then you know, I will often start with, actually with this piece I really don't have to say anything. (laughs) That's when I kind of like, that's my favorite kind of piece, the piece where the kids are the first ones to say something. So they say, "What? "What is this? "This isn't a painting, "this isn't a sculpture, this is a wheel. "What is this doing here?" And I say, "Well, I don't know. "Why do you think it's here? "Why do you think it's taking up "so much valuable space in the Museum of Modern Art?" One thing that I do a lot at this piece is I tell them that Marcel Dechamp, another one of his famous pieces called Fountain, was voted a few years back by hundreds of art historians to be the most influential piece of modern art in existence. And I actually show them a picture of that, of that piece, and of course, they all really start freaking out about that because it's a urinal and you know, some of them have to recognize that's a urinal at first. Often I do this with middle schoolers. And so that really brings them into well, okay here these are similar in a way, these are both objects that Marcel Duchamp didn't actually create himself, they're manufactured objects, but not only does MoMA respect it, but all these art historians respect it and it's supposedly the most influential piece, so what is it that's doing this? I think because of that compare contrast they are able to start to get to the fact that this is doing something different, that this is Marcel Duchamp saying, a lot of them say anything can be art and then I try to push them a little bit more on that. Why can't I just declare any object art? Why can't I say this manufactured pencil is art? And so we have to have a discuss about well, what makes you saying this pencil is art different than Duchamp saying this pencil is art? And they are really willing to engage with me around the fact that artists make a lot of art, they make it their career, they declare themselves artists. And so they'll get a lot of respect for the things that they make in the context of their whole life's work.