© 2018

Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain

One Hundred Years Later


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Reopening “The Richard Mutt Case”: Fountain in 2017

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-13
    2. Robert Kilroy
      Pages 15-25
    3. Robert Kilroy
      Pages 27-37
  3. Revisiting the Crime Scene: Fountain’s Reception

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 39-39
    2. Robert Kilroy
      Pages 47-75
  4. Retracing the Crime: Fountain Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 77-77
    2. Robert Kilroy
      Pages 79-88
    3. Robert Kilroy
      Pages 89-98
    4. Robert Kilroy
      Pages 99-108
    5. Robert Kilroy
      Pages 109-118
  5. Resolving the Crime: Fountain’s Legacy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 119-119
    2. Robert Kilroy
      Pages 121-129
    3. Robert Kilroy
      Pages 131-140
    4. Robert Kilroy
      Pages 141-149
    5. Robert Kilroy
      Pages 151-160
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 161-168

About this book


This book marks the centenary of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain by critically re-examining the established interpretation of the work. It introduces a new methodological approach to art-historical practice rooted in a revised understanding of Lacan, Freud and Slavoj Žižek. In weaving an alternative narrative, Kilroy shows us that not only has Fountain been fundamentally misunderstood but that this very misunderstanding is central to the work’s significance. The author brings together Duchamp’s own statements to argue Fountain’s verdict was strategically stage-managed by the artist in order to expose the underlying logic of its reception, what he terms ‘The Creative Act.’ This book will be of interest to a broad range of readers, including art historians, psychoanalysts, scholars and art enthusiasts interested in visual culture and ideological critique.


Duchamp Fountain conceptual art anti-art Modern art Žižek Slavoj Zizek Lacanian theory Psychoanalysis Lacan Art historical methodology Art History Freud Etant donnés Irvine group

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Université Paris SorbonnAbu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates

About the authors

Robert Thomas Kilroy is Lecturer of Art History and Applied Foreign Languages at University Paris Sorbonne, Abu Dhabi.

Bibliographic information


“Kilroy makes a strong case that ‘Duchamp’s intention with Fountain was to expose the mechanism at work in the reception of his oeuvre’, at least as measured by the artist’s statements. He offers a timely interpretation of Duchamp, who emerges from Kilroy’s analysis as an artist single-mindedly focused on the creation and reception of his own self-image.” (Melissa Venator, H-France Review, Vol. 19 (21), January, 2019)​