A 77-year-old French man, Pierre Pinoncelli, artist of École de Nice, was convicted for attacking artist Marcel Duchamp's famed porcelain urinal with a hammer on 4 Jan 2006 in Centre Pompidou where the work was displayed in the DADA exhibition. Pinoncelli said in the court that he told Duchamp in 1967 that he would do "something" and that what he had done was not vandalism but a performance art that increased the value of the artwork by making it an "original". Pinoncelli said his act might have pleased the artists of Dada. Duchamp, who died in 1968, emphasized the creative process, and a role for the spectator. The original of 1917 was lost, but in 1964 Duchamp created eight other versions of the work and the one is display valued $3.4 million. The court gave Pinoncelli a three-month suspended prison sentence and ordered him to pay a $245,490 fine. However, the January urinal attack was not the first for Pinoncelli. He urinated on the piece during a 1993 exhibition in Nimes in southern France. Pinoncelli's actions are not limited to the Dada movement or works of art. He cut off his own finger as an expression of solidarity with Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, held hostage by leftist guerrillas since 2002.
Image 1: Pierre Pinoncelli ready to chop off his finger as a tribute to the Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt in 2002. (Image from New York Times)
Image 2: Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, (1917) Original work lost, Readymade, Procelaine Urina, Height 60cm Philidelphia Museum of Art