Why Not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy?  

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Why not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy? is a 1921 "readymade" sculpture by Marcel Duchamp.

Duchamp made the piece as a birdcage containing a thermometer, a piece of cuttlebone and 152 marble cubes. He crafted the cubes to look like sugar cubes. Only when lifting the cage does it become clear that it is much heavier than it would be if the cubes were made of sugar.

About the sculpture, Duchamp said:

It is a Readymade in which the sugar is changed to marble. It is sort of a mythological effect.

André Breton wrote about Why not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy?:

I have in mind the occasion when Marcel Duchamp got hold of some friends to show them a cage which seemed to have no birds in it, but to be half-full of lumps of sugar. He asked them to lift the cage and they were surprised at its heaviness. What they had taken for lumps of sugar were really small lumps of marble which at great expense Duchamp had had sawn up specially for the purpose. The trick in my opinion is no worse than any other, and I would even say that it is worth nearly all the tricks of art put together.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art displays the original as part of the Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection. Several replicas exist, made by Duchamp, but only in the original are the cubes stamped "Made in France".

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