Reinventing The Wheel: The Readymade Century

Publication to accompany the exhibition “Reinventing The Wheel: The Readymade Century”, 3 October – 14 December 2013, Monash University Museum of Art, Victoria, Australia.

Arguably the most influential development in art of the twentieth century, the use of the readymade was set in motion 100 years ago with Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel. Giving birth to an entire artistic language, Duchamp’s conversion of an unadorned, everyday object into a figure of high art completely inverted how people considered artistic practice. Suddenly, art was capable of being everywhere and in everything. It was a revolutionary moment in modern art, and the ripples from this epochal shift still resonate today.

Reinventing the Wheel: the Readymade Century pays tribute to this seminal work and traces the subsequent elaboration of neo-dada practices, with a particular focus upon everyday and vernacular contexts; the mysterious and libidinous potential of sculptural objects; institutional critique and nominal modes of artistic value; pop, minimalism and industrial manufacture. These discursive contexts will also provide a foundation to explore more recent tendencies related to unmonumental and social sculpture, post-fordism and other concerns, particularly among contemporary Australian artists.

Bringing together works by over 50 artists – from Duchamp and Man Ray to Andy Warhol and Martin Creed, along with some of Australia’s leading practitioners – this is a one-of-a-kind salute to an idea that continues to define the very nature of contemporary art.


Carl Andre, Hany Armanious, Nairy Baghramian, Ian Burn, John Cage, Christo & Jeanne-Claude,  Tony Cragg, Michael Craig-Martin, Martin Creed, Aleks Danko, Julian Dashper, Simon Denny, Marcel Duchamp, Sylvie Fleury, Ceal Floyer, Claire Fontaine, Gilbert & George, Félix González-Torres, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Greatest Hits, Matthew Griffin, Richard Hamilton, David Hammons, Matt Hinkley, Lou Hubbard, Barry Humphries, Jeff Koons, Joseph Kosuth, Louise Lawler, Klara Lidén, Andrew Liversidge, James Lynch, Robert MacPherson, Rob McKenzie, Callum Morton, John Nixon, Meret Oppenheim, Joshua Petherick, Kain Picken, Rosslynd Piggott, Man Ray, Scott Redford, Stuart Ringholt, Peter Saville, Charlie Sofo, Haim Steinbach, Ricky Swallow, Masato Takasaka, Peter Tyndall, Alex Vivian, Danh Vo, Andy Warhol, and Heimo Zobernig.

Curatorial team:
Max Delany (former MUMA director), Charlotte Day, Francis E. Parker, and Patrice Sharkey.With texts by Rex Butler, Charlotte Day, Francis Parker, Patrice Sharkey, and a never before published text by Thierry de Duve.
Reinventing The Wheel: The Readymade Century
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