God (sculpture)  

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God[1] is a 1917 sculpture by Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. It is an example of readymade art, a term coined by Marcel Duchamp in 1915 to describe his found art. God was originally attributed to a machine-painting follower of Francis Picabia named Morton Livingston Schamberg. This attribution has only recently been questioned. Schamberg was a precise artist who showed no inclination towards scatological humour which, given the nature of the work would seem necessary. It is probable that the Dada Baroness created the work during a two-month visit to Philadelphia, during which she worked with Schamberg. It is now believed that he merely photographed the sculpture, in front of a painting that is recognisably his. The Baroness subsequently left Philadelphia in high dudgeon, believing herself to have been snubbed by the local artistic community, returning to New York without her "God". This highly irreligeous Dada object is typical of the deliberately provocative and defiant artistic stance of the Baroness. It is now regarded as a sister piece to Marcel Duchamp's infamous 'Fountain' sculpture which consists of an upended urinal. Both works were created in the same year and there is some uncertainty about who first had the idea of turning plumbing into art, Duchamp and the Baroness were friends during this period, they lived in the same apartment building and had many discussions late into the night.

God is 10½ inches high and consists of a cast iron plumbing trap turned upside down and mounted on a wooden mitre box. The work is now in the Arensberg Collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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