Skip to main content


c. 1917
Morton Livingston Schamberg, American, 1881 - 1918, and Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, German, 1874 - 1927
In 1900 American writer Henry Adams contrasted the dynamo engine to the Virgin Mary as the icon of a new age, and in 1930 American poet Hart Crane would salute the Brooklyn Bridge as the altar of a new God. Consisting of an inverted household plumbing trap mounted on a wooden miter box, this construction offers a more tongue-in-cheek eulogy to the machine. Members of the New York Dadaists, Morton Schamberg and Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven used irony and irreverence to topple artistic conventions. God shares a spiritual kinship with Marcel Duchamp’s notorious Fountain of 1917, a porcelain urinal turned on its side, and invokes Duchamp’s equivocal praise of plumbing and bridges as America’s greatest contributions to civilization. ...

Object Details

We are always learning more about our collection and updating the website. Want to share your knowledge about this work with us? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.