TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE R. MUTT DOSSIER

NEW YORK

OCTOBER 1988

Dear Client:

Endlessly solved, the case remains endlessly open.

In February 1917, a urinal known as Fountain was submitted to the Society of Independent Artists, in New York City, which rejected it for exhibition, whereupon it was transported to the gallery of Alfred Stieglitz, at 291 Fifth Avenue, and photographed in front of an American abstract painting by Marsden Hartley. Shortly thereafter it disappeared.

You have approved an investigation into the appearance, disappearance, and subsequent reappearances of Fountain. Marcel Duchamp, the principal figure in the case, has been dead now exactly twenty years. Even if he were here to bear witness, one still would never know exactly what transpired that spring in New York, or its significance. In addition, the central piece of evidence has never been recovered. Interpretations of it have accumulated, displacing, contradicting,

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