‘Duchamp’s Ring 2013-2017’ by Mike Chavez-Dawson at Manchester Art Gallery
I had the good fortune, thanks to my Twitter account @beesarthaus, to contact artist and curator Mike Chavez-Dawson. The result of our Twitter exchange, an invite from Manchester’s Rogue Artists Studio’s, Chavez-Dawson to see the run through for the performance and a new song ‘Buddha of the Bathroom’ at Manchester Art Gallery.(the song is also the title of the famous article written in the Blind Man journal by Louis Norton about Duchamp’s ‘Fountain, 1917’) Co-written and performed by artist and musician and GM Arts Prize shortlisted Ruby Tingle, and Chavez-Dawson. The performance culminating in the unveiling of Chavez-Dawson work ‘Duchamp’s Ring 2013-2017’. Recently acquired by Manchester Art Gallery.
As part of the performance actor Mark Butt, as Philadelphian Duchamp expert, art critic and historian Dr Micky Ruttman, reads a script by JT Chavez inspired by an essay by Sara Jaspan
Whilst Duchamp’s original was a full size urinal, Chavez-Dawson’s work is a miniature urinal set on a ring. One interesting note – the finger used to size the ring belongs to none other than past director of MAG and the Whitworth and now the new Director of The Tate, Maria Balshaw.
Part of an edition of 21, this particular one, appropriately number 17, is made from multiple materials. The sculpt is set in cold-cast porcelain, then finished before the application of a car spray finish and wax varnish. The R.Mutt signature is hand painted in thinned enamel paint, the ring is solid sterling silver with a bespoke silver pronged disc which is then glued to the sculpt. The ring is then set in a riser made from poplar wood, treated with tunic oil.
On display in the front entrance of MAG until September, it will then be relocated alongside an exhibition of Picasso ceramics in the main galleries.
Sculpture Number 18 is currently on display as part of ‘Fountain 17’ in Hull as part of Hull’s City of Culture year, along with another fountain inspired ring titled ‘Linga-Yoni, Black Fountain, 2015-2017’ which is made from black marble and gold. Chavez-Dawson and Ruby Tingle will be undertaking another performance there as part of the closing ceremony. This connects with the work at MAG and the forthcoming major art-project/exhibition called ‘FOUNTAIN, fountain…’ at Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre for 30th September. All the works explore, tackle and draw inspiration from Duchamp’s ‘Fountain, 1917 – 1964’.
If you’re in Hull this weekend (13th May) you can catch Chavez-Dawson and Ruby Tingle performing at Studio Eleven, starting at 2.17pm with an unfired, black, organic food dyed urinal ceremoniously paraded to the Humber Estuary, whilst singing a revised version of their song ‘Buddha of the Bathroom’, and accompanied by folk dressed in black, white and black and white, (a reference to Chess – Duchamp was a world-class player) where it will be lowered into the water accompanied by an additional verse of ‘Buddha of the Bathroom.