Artwork to make a splash at Ludlow exhibition

A urinal is to be given pride of place in town's grand parish church – not because of an upgrade to the toilets, but as a work of art.

St Laurence's Church in Ludlow will be hosting Ludlow Art Society's annual summer exhibition once more in the coming weeks.

And while the combination of art, a place of worship and medieval architecture normally makes people think of the high brow and transcendental, the sight of a men's urinal among it all may bring things a little more down-to-earth.

But the urinal has a pedigree – it is a modern version of an artwork that was first submitted for a New York gallery in 1917, and its appearance in Ludlow will mark the 100th anniversary of the work, by Marcel Duchamp, that shocked the art world back then.

Artist Tom Crowe, speaking for Ludlow Art Society, said: "2017 is the centenary of the outrageous attempt to exhibit a urinal in New York

"Marcel Duchamp was a French artist who became famous when he attempted to exhibit his work at the inaugural exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists.

"His exhibit was in fact a simple urinal and the only work done was to sign it 'R Mutt' and to grace it with the title of Fountain.

"It was rejected, but none the less the event is highly regarded by art historians as a major landmark in 20th century art. The original urinal was lost but the artist commissioned replicas.

"Will the Ludlow Art Society Summer Exhibit of a urinal get the same treatment as a century ago?

"It was thought that the Ludlow Art Society was considered dull and staid by the younger generation, so perhaps the celebration of the centenary of this momentous event will change that perception."

He said Welsh poet Martin Evans will also be rising to the occasion with "a delicate verse or two to celebrate", though he added it had been toned down from an earlier attempt, received well at Evans' stand up poetry events, that was considered a little too raunchy for the art exhibition.

Ludlow Art Society's summer exhibition is now in its 71st year and will open on August 23, with a private reception the night before at 6pm on the August 22.

It will be open daily from 10am to 5pm until August 31, when it will close at 2pm.

Members of the society include both professional and amateur artists. All the art work exhibited is original and most is for sale, including framed paintings in various media, unframed but mounted pictures and cards.

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