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This phallic form was based on a broken piece of the mould from another sculpture. It originally helped to support the underside of the breast on a female nude in Duchamp’s installation Etant donnés. By creating a male form from a rib-like structure in a female figure, Duchamp was inverting the Book of Genesis, in which Eve is created from Adam’s rib. The French word ‘dard’ (dart) is slang for penis, and the original title Objet-Dard is a pun on ‘objet d’art’, or work of art.

August 2009