A partial transcript of episode 23 of THE ART MOVEMENT, my weekly arts and culture radio show.
The influence of the Mona Lisa, of course, extends far beyond its status as a symbol of populist hostilities between two countries. It is a timeless work of art.
One of the most notable examples of how its legacy came as a result of its fame, when in 1919, noted artist and provocateur Marcel Duchamp drew a pair of moustaches on a picture or a postcard of the Mona Lisa.
This was not the first time the Mona Lisa had been parodied but it is the most famous example. Duchamp’s satirical take on Leonardo’s painting presented a less than reverent way of relating to past artistic tradition and was part of his “found object” works.
Duchamp titled his take on the Mona Lisa LHOOQ, which when read in French roughly translates to “Her ass is on fire,” and is a rude way of saying that she is insatiably horny. Clearly, the provocation was aimed at the art establishment and offered a new way of looking at art, shaking the shackles of academia off it.
Elle a Chaud au Cul has been referred to as a landmark work in the history of postmodernism. Some have claimed that it is, in fact, the beginning of postmodernism.
For certain, we see its influence replicated in the meme culture of today, which I am uncertain as to whether it should be referred to as an art movement or an art form but I am certainly not quick to dismiss, as far as its role in modern art is concerned.