Skip to main content

Marcel Duchamp Art Medal 28/100, based on Sink Stopper (Bouche Évier), 1964

Marcel Duchamp

Artwork Details

Marcel Duchamp Art Medal 28/100, based on Sink Stopper (Bouche Évier), 1964
Marcel Duchamp
2 7/16 in. x 2 7/16 in. x 3/8 in. ( 6.2 cm x 6.2 cm x 1 cm )
Gift of the Lannan Foundation in Honor of the Pelham Family


2014 Additions:
Marcel Duchamp
United States, born France, 1887–1968
Duchamp Art Medal
28/100, 1967, based on Sink Stopper (Bouche Évier), 1964
Gift of the Lannan Foundation
in Honor of the Pelham Family,
Duchamp forever changed the parameters of art when he mounted a bicycle wheel on a kitchen stool and created the first “readymade” in 1913. The artist never gave a definition of the term; one of questionable authorship however, was printed under the initials “MD” in the Abridged Dictionary of Surrealism: “an ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist.” Readymades, which Duchamp himself suspected might have been the most important idea to come out of his work, tested the limits of public taste and the boundaries of artistic technique, and questioned the ability of art to remain separate from the wider field of cultural and commercial production.
Duchamp’s Art Medal is very much in the spirit of the readymade: the medals were cast in precious metals from a self-fashioned drain stopper and issued as collectible coins by the International Numismatic Agency. The Art Medal goes one step further, however, by introducing an explicitly economic dimension to the question of where value comes from in art. This challenge was very well placed in the context of the booming art market of the 1960s, when record prices were being fetched for contemporary works.

Subject Matter:

Casting of a sink stopper that Duchamp first designed by hand for his bathroom in Cadaqués, Spain. This everyday, handmade object was then reproduced in a series of one hundred. The piece demonstrates the meeting of art objects and the mundane,. It is also an example of ironic commercialization and artist self-representation. The International Numismatic Agency later released an edition of 300 as a collector's item, the Duchamp Art Medal.

Physical Description:

A small, thin silver disk. In the center are seven convex circular protrusions (one in the center surrounded symmetrically by the six others) that appear like balls set within individual depressions. There are other less uniform depressions surrounding the center design. An incised line runs around the circumference.

Usage Rights:

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.