Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



An examination of Marcel Duchamp’s ideas of how art is defined, especially in regards to the role of the audience in determining whether an object is art and his challenges to how art was perceived, as demonstrated by his readymades. The struggle to define art is a significant element of society. With this paper, I argue against Duchamp’s view that the audience has a monopoly on power in the artist-audience relationship, showing that the audience can be persuaded to accept an object as art based on how the object is presented. This manipulation of the audience has meaningful consequences, as the manipulator can affect much more than just the way the audience views art.