For Immediate Release:  


New Adventures In Metaphysical Arbitrage:

100 Years of the Readymade

September 9th, 2017 - October 6th, 2017

Opening Reception - 7-10pm - September 9th, 2017 - 6-10pm

Awards Ceremony 9pm

“Whether Mr Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object”

-Anonymous (The Blind Man, 1917)

Pilot Projects is pleased to announce IDLE HANDS - New Adventures in Metaphysical Arbitrage : 100 Years of the Readymade, a project organized by Chicago-based artist and curator Brandon Alvendia. An alternative take on the 100th anniversary of Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, IDLE HANDS highlights the work of dozens of local, national, and international artists in an open-call exhibition of readymades. This project engages the legacy of the readymade tradition as subversive gesture by examining the often contradictory positions art can take in relation to labor, capital, commodification, craft, fabrication, humor, satire, critique, and the market. Moreover, the controversial nature of authorship and institutional context persists in determining the use/exchange value of art objects and their historical significance.

According to the well-worn mythical origins of Fountain, wherein (possibly) Duchamp placed a store bought porcelain urinal on its side, signed R.Mutt, and (purportedly) secretly submitted it to a (supposedly) all-inclusive exhibition at the then newly formed Society of Independent Artists in New York. Upon rejection from exhibition, the work spawned controversy over the retinal versus cerebral nature of creativity that still remains unresolved. The complex history of this event includes the very real possibility that Duchamp took sole-authorship over a female collaborator’s work, the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Nevertheless, the story and the conceptual foundations of the readymade persist through a century of art production and reception, dramatizing the implicit and explicit institutional and personal hierarchies at play.

In honor of this history, Alvendia and Pilot+Projects are excited to announce an open call for new readymade objects to be exhibited in September of 2017, one hundred years after Fountain’s creation. Cash prizes will be awarded (see terms and conditions).


Open Call

 Individuals and groups of all stripes are invited to submit objects/images/ephemera/ideas to be exhibited on the floors/walls/ceiling of the gallery space and adjacent empty lot at Pilot+Projects, a small artist-run space in a rented warehouse in the Kensington neighborhood of North Philadelphia* (see terms and conditions). All work will automatically be included in the Readymade Competition, and are eligible to receive trophies, medals, and cash prizes in various categories.


  1. Eligible artists must be willing to elevate an ordinary object to the dignity of a work of art, by the mere choice of the artist.  (see terms and conditions)

To apply:

Please follow the link to answer the following:

  1. Images and written description of the piece and specifics of how it will be presented.
  2. Size of the work in inches.  Please be specific.  This will be used to determine footprint and layout of the exhibition (see terms and conditions).
  3. You are welcome to provide a price for the work or we will be listing it as Price On Request.
  4. Proposals will require a one month “rent” payment of $5 per square foot of gallery space used.  This money will go towards a cash award for competition winners and all exhibiting artists are automatically entered into the competition* (see terms and conditions).

We require no artist statement or CV.  Please do not send one unless it is your submission.

Accepted proposals:

  1. We will notify artists by 8/16/2017 of their acceptance in the exhibition.
  2. Upon receiving your acceptance letter, you will be sent a loan form and a payment link.
  3. Drop off and install your work (dates and times will be announced).


Trophies and a cash prize will be awarded at the awards ceremony on the opening night of the exhibition for a number of categories, including but not limited to: Best in Show (Juried, Audience Favorite, Neighborhood Prize, and Randomly Selected), Best potty-humor, most political, Worst Readymade...

Terms and Conditions:

1.  Eligibility

  1.   No work will be exhibited that is deemed not in accordance with historical definition(s) of readymade:  "an ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist."

  1. A signed loan form and rental fee must be returned to Pilot+Projects prior to delivery of work to gallery.  This will be sent to all accepted proposals.

  1. Instead of the familiar (boring) open call, Pilot+Projects and artist/curator Brandon Alvendia offer a proposal and exhibition structure that has a dual function: Celebrating 100 years of non-retinal art, and reproducing on a smaller scale, the conditions of our relationship to capital and real estate, especially those pertaining to the rental of a warehouse (the one housing Pilot+Projects) in a rapidly changing neighborhood (South Kensington, Philadelphia).  Works that consider these terms are highly encouraged.

  1. We offer temporary domain to readymades, assisted readymades, rectified readymades, corrected readymades, reciprocal readymades, and perhaps other newly discovered forms of readymades for a small rental fee, which will be collected and redistributed as prize money.  As such, prize money will be determined by the invisible hand of the market, readymade competitors, readymade competition affiliates, and an interested public.

2.  Application Fee

  1.  Artist must specify size of artwork in application, or more specifically, size of floor or wall space that will be used.  This will determine the rental fee ($5/sq. ft) There will be roughly 1100 square feet of combined floor/wall space made available for the works in the gallery, meaning there's a possibility there will be more works than space and some tough decisions will have to be made.  All effort will be made to exhibit all work but as with life, there are no guarantees.

  1. In accordance with our interest in thinking through relationships between art, commodity, real estate, and gentrification, we are choosing to think of the associated fee as a form of space rental fee.  As such, works not accepted for exhibition will be refunded the rental fee upon request (or we will keep it as a gallery donation).  

  1. Alvendia will divide the gallery space and offer a one month “rental” of the exhibition space to artists for the low low price of $5 per square foot (larger works or works occupying more real estate pay more).  Keep in mind, at $5 a sq.ft. this rental fee is much smaller than the entry fee of many open calls, and will still offer the same level of access to the cultural capital promised by showing at a “successful contemporary art gallery” like Pilot+Projects, if thats something you're into.

3.  Delivery and Installation

  1.  Artists must have the work delivered by 9/2/2017, ready to be exhibited.  No work will be accepted that is deemed not ready to exhibit, or is deemed a potential threat to the people, other works in the space, or the space itself.  Threats of the ideological sort however, are highly encouraged.

  1. Pedestals, shelves, or other installation needs that are required must be provided by artist or will otherwise be displayed on the floor or wall.

  1. If work is shipped and if return is required, return shipping postage and adequate packing must be provided by the artist. Otherwise, work will be recycled, donated, or possibly disposed in a ceremonial pyre.

  1. Works that will be exhibited in the yard are at your own risk and are subject to damage from vandalism, theft, acts of God, acts of Nature, dog poop, and public opinion. No works will damage the yard or any occupants (flora/fauna) of the yard.

  1.  Works that require electricity will need to be powered by battery or other portable means as there is only one outlet on the wall and we'll need that to charge our portable devices.  Just kidding, kind of.

4.  Competition and Prizes

  1.  Alvendia in his role as artist/curator, will be determining the worth of each object in terms of its non-retinal value, and in accordance with his need to increase the value of his brand (artist/curator).  In this role, he is equally committed to increasing both market value and brand awareness of each work exhibited, and in producing a synergetic and mutually profitable situation for all exhibiting artists and Readymade Competition patrons.

  1. Exhibiting artists will have their work reviewed by a jury composed of both highly paid arts workers (curators), and local business owners, to ensure that awards such as "Best readymade," "Best Potty Joke," and "Worst Readymade" are validated not only through the fame and influence of highly paid upper-tier taste-makers, but by market-tested working-class small business owners as well.

  1. Alvendia will offer awards for works determined to be the “best” of specific categories, and those works will be awarded trophies and a cash prize.  Additionally, Alvendia is turning 40 years old on the date of the awards ceremony, if you want to give him an award as well.

  1. No exhibiting artist that has a direct biological or legal relationship to Pilot+Projects staff or affiliates are eligible to win prize money, but will instead be awarded a congratulatory pat on the back and/or a personalized "thank you" dance video.  Actually, all participants in Idle Hands will receive personalized "thank you" dance videos and maybe participation medals. But you aren't doing this for the money are you?

5.    TL;DR

  1.  Send us questions...if you're into it we're probably into it too.  Have fun, be safe, and whatever it is we are facing we'll work it out together.