Marcel Duchamp changed a urinal upside down, renamed it “Fountain” and exhibited it as being a piece of artwork. Nearly a century later, galleries are full of similar pieces, though this was unprecedented at the time: Tracy Emin’s your bed, Damien Hirst’s shark, Yves Klein’s bare room, Antony Gormley’s smoked stuffed box. Their list continues on.
How could these items be called craft? Robert Rauschenberg’s alleged portrait of Iris Clert sums the situation up; the portrait consisting of a telegram containing the words “This is a portrait of Iris Clert if I say so”.
Is conceptual art work actually craft at all? It’s luring to answer, with gut instinct: no, it isn’t. Praoclaiming that blaze is cool doesn’t stop it from being warm, and stating that a telegram is a portrait doesn’t make it