Beatrice Wood – a forgotten pioneer of the Dada movement.
Though a 1993 documentary later dubbed Wood the “Mama of Dada,” she is rarely listed among the movement’s pioneers. But in 1917, both she and Duchamp submitted works to the Society of Independent Artists’ first exhibition, which would double as Dada’s coming out. While Duchamp’s contribution to the show—a found urinal turned on its head and titled Fountain (1917)—would later be seen as a watershed moment in the history of modern art, it was Wood’s Un peut (peu) d’eau dans du savon (1917) that caused public uproar at the time…
As a woman artist primarily working in ceramics, she also represented a demographic and a medium that were both marginalized during her lifetime. “More people know her for sleeping with Duchamp than for making her own work,” the artist Arlene Shechet told me when we discussed Wood’s legacy. “That needs to be rectified.”
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