January 25, 2006

A recent report from the Associated Press by Pierre-Antoine Souchard, published in the Philadelphia Inquirer under the headline, "Vandal Fined for Chipping Duchamp Work," relays the news that Pierre Pinoncelli, a 77-year-old French man, has been convicted (three-month suspended sentence and a $245,490 fine, plus $17,616 for repairs) for attacking with a hammer a porcelain urinal that is the centerpiece of a work by Dadaist Marcel Duchamp on display at the Pompidou Center in Paris.

Souchard reports:

Pinoncelli, a former salesman who calls himself a participant in the creative process as conceived by Duchamp, said that his hammer attack was an artistic endeavor. During questioning, he had told police his attack was a work of performance art and said then it might have pleased the artists of Dada.

And more:

The January urinal attack was not the first for Pinoncelli. He urinated on the piece during a 1993 exhibition in Nimes in southern France.

And still more:

Pinoncelli's actions are not limited to the Dada movement or works of art. He cut off his own finger as an expression of solidarity with Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, held hostage by leftist guerrillas since 2002.

So . . . An artist, or insane?

I’m going with insane.


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