Adam Ash

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Artworld: last month the guy who vandalized Duchamp's urinal got fined

The 77-year-old man who took a hammer to one of eight copies of Marcel Duchamp's famous urinal was ordered in Paris to pay the equivalent of $262,000 to the Pompidou Center and given a suspended three-month prison term, Agence France-Presse reported. The man, Pierre Pinoncelli, who attacked the same work, "Fountain," a cornerstone of Conceptual Art, in 1993 at an exhibition in southern France, told the court he had acted in the name of art when he chipped the urinal and scrawled the word Dada on it this month at the Pompidou Center during the final days of the "Dada" exhibition. "I am not the cheap vandal that some would have me to be," he said. "A vandal does not sign his work. It was a wink to Dadaism." The judge said, "You are not unaware that life in society demands respect for laws and particularly respect for private property." Mr. Pinoncelli said, "But the Dada spirit is lack of respect." The judge also asked, "Do I understand that you are saying that your damaging a copy makes it an original?" Mr. Pinoncelli replied, "Absolutely." He said he planned to appeal.


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