Modern art changed forever with the French artist Marcel Duchamp’s submission of Fountain, a literal porcelain urinal, to the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917. Inspired by the European Dada movement, Duchamp’s use of play, chance and everyday objects changed art-making in America. We will begin by exploring how Duchamp’s ideas were disseminated through American musician John Cage’s work. Then we will look at how Cagean aesthetics filtered into assemblage, combines and collage works of the 1950’s through 1970’s. We will consider examples from the VMFA’s permanent collection, including those by: Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Morris, John Chamberlain, Richard Stankiewicx, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselmann, Wallace Berman, Arman, and Ed Ruscha.