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Structural Organization

The Assisted Readymade


Gather at least three different readymade items and
create a composition in which their embedded meanings, histories, and formal elements create content that, when viewed as a whole, inform each other and create a new subject for the viewer to consider.​​​


  1. You are assembling a sculpture by juxtaposing at least three different readymades together.

  2. Resist the urge to modify the objects or materials. You are not crafting a sculpture.

  3. Just like the first project, your presentations will be fast!

  4. Have Fun!

Your classmates will observe and discuss how these
objects inform each other in literal ways as explicated by the formal elements and also in expansive ways as informed by structural organization.

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What's Structural Organization???

  1. Composition

  2. Content

  3. Subject

An artist takes Formal Elements and Materials and combines them together to create a Composition. This Composition is then situated by an artist in a way that yields the Content of the work of art. Content can be Representational or Non-Representational.

What's the Composition of this piece?


Ai Weiwei’s Grapes, 2010, uses three-legged wooden stools commonly found in Chinese domestic settings. The work is meant to serve as a social critique of the state of individuality in China.

What's the Content of this piece?


Joseph Kosuth, One and Three chairs, 1965

Who or what is the Subject?


Tracy Emin, My Bed, 1998

Readymades challenge the divide between
so-called ‘high art’ and ‘low art.’


‘High art’ is considered to be art that elevates and inspires the
cultivated spectator. ‘Low art’ is thought of as art that merely
amuses or entertains the masses.


Maurizio Cattelan, Comedian

(This sold for $120,000.)

So what can you do?​

(more examples)


Joseph Beuys, The Sled, 1969

Play with what you have.

(Remember our lists from last week?)


Ai Weiwei, Forever, 2003

Do you work small?


Marcel Duchamp. Why Not Sneeze Rose Sélavy? 1964.

Painted metal birdcage containing 151 white marble blocks, thermometer, and piece of cuttlebone.

or do you go big?


Khairullah Rahim and Nghia Phung, after-party, 2022

What narratives can you construct?


Danh Vo’s Oma Totem, is built from items that were given to the artist’s maternal grandmother upon her arrival as a refugee in Berlin after escaping postwar Vietnam. The work, with others, brings larger themes of capitalism, colonialism, and religion together with intimate personal narratives—what the artist calls “the tiny diasporas of a person’s life.”

What meaning can you embue? (formally?)


Man Ray, Cadeau (Gift),  1921

What NOT to do


Resist the urge to modify the objects or materials.

You are not crafting a sculpture.

Resist the urge towards mark-making.

Resist the urge towards adding images.


Graciela Sacco. Bocanada, sin título (Whiff, Untitled)

Resist the urge towards deconstructing.

Work with the readymade forms as they are.




  • Upload a photo of your Project #2 to Canvas before class for it to be graded.

  • Project #2 in Class for Crit.

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