Beginning in 1913 Duchamp challenged accepted artistic standards by selecting mass-produced, functional objects from everyday life and designating them as works of art. These sculptures, which he called “readymades,” were aimed at subverting traditional notions of skill, uniqueness, and beauty, boldly declaring that an artist could create simply by making choices. Duchamp purchased the first version of this work in a hardware store in 1915, signed and dated the shovel, and hung it on display from his studio ceiling. Its title, In Advance of the Broken Arm, playfully alludes to the objects intended purpose.
Gallery label from 2016.