Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" (AP) and Diamond Rings' John O. (Norman Wong)
Despite my decent drawing faculties, I had no real art historical background and couldn't contextualize my way out of a cardboard box.
—John O., musician
Diamond Rings' John O. was in a pretty dark place when he wrote his debut album in 2010.
Special Affections was penned while the musician was in a hospital room recovering from Crohn's disease. It struck a nerve. The album was nominated for the Polaris Prize and found the singer touring all over the world.
John O. is on the road again, touring in support of his second album, Free Dimensional. He plays Winnipeg on March 9th, so SCENE decided to ask the former art school student to tell us about the one piece of art that changed his life:
When I first left the suburbs of Oshawa to begin completing a fine arts degree at the University of Guelph I was pretty green.
Despite my decent drawing faculties, I had no real art historical background and couldn't contextualize my way out of a cardboard box. Enter Marcel Duchamp's Fountain (1917), a piece of modern sculpture that flipped my carefully rendered world quite literally on end.
Many cite this work (a urinal turned sideways and signed by the artist) as the jump off point for much of the post-modern critical discourse that has dominated the past century.
In its valuation of the aesthetic gesture over technical prowess, Fountain not only freed generations of artists to explore a more cerebral platform for their creations, but did it in perhaps the most vulgar way possible. Taking the piss, anyone?
Diamond Rings plays March 9th at the Pyramid.