Marcel Duchamp. Bicycle Wheel. New York, 1951 (third version, after lost original of 1913) 37

Metal wheel mounted on painted wood stool, 51 x 25 x 16 1/2" (129.5 x 63.5 x 41.9 cm). The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection. © 2024 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp

What do you think makes this art? Take a moment to think about it.

So, what did you decide? Well, it is in an art museum! And it is sort of a sculpture, but it’s made of a regular old everyday bicycle wheel and a kitchen stool!

The artist Marcel Duchamp wanted you to question what is considered art. By using everyday objects he found or bought, putting them together in a new way, and calling them ‘art’, Duchamp’s sculptures started a new way of thinking about art. He called them ‘readymades’ because part or all of it was already made!

Here’s a secret you can tell your grownup but don’t try it. Duchamp originally intended for people to spin the wheel! It was part of going against the idea that art was something to look at but not to touch. Of course, we’re not allowed to touch it today–it’s too old and we want future generations of kids and grownups to enjoy it. But can you imagine how it would have looked and sounded when the wheel spun? How would it make you see this work of ‘art’ differently?