Anti-art is a term used to describe art that challenges the existing accepted definitions of art

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  • Fountain replica Marcel Duchamp
    Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968), Fountain 1917, replica 1964
  • Jean Arp (Hans Arp), 'Moustaches' circa 1925
    Jean Arp (Hans Arp)
    Moustaches circa 1925
    Oil on card
    object: 307 x 227 mm, 5 mm
    frame: 345 x 265 x 40 mm
    Presented by Mr and Mrs Robert Lewin through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1988© DACS, 2002
  • Sarah Lucas, 'The Old In Out' 1998
    Sarah Lucas
    The Old In Out 1998
    displayed: 400 x 360 x 520 mm, 14 kg
    Purchased 1999© Sarah Lucas

The term anti-art is generally agreed to have been coined by Marcel Duchamp around 1913 when he made his first readymades, which are still regarded in some quarters as anti-art (for example by the Stuckist group). In 1917 Duchamp submitted a urinal, titled Fountain, for an exhibition in New York, which subsequently became notorious and eventually highly influential. Anti-art is associated with dada, the artistic and literary movement founded in Zurich in 1916 and simultaneously in New York, in which Duchamp was a central figure.

Since dada there have been many art movements that have taken a position on anti-art, from the lo-fi mail art movement to the YBAs, some of whom have embraced the absurdities of dada and Duchamp’s love of irony, paradox and punning.