pipes
 aquarium piping

aquarium piping

As an architect I sort of specialize in buildings with pipes.  Well, all buildings have pipes, but aquariums have more than their fair share.  So my interest in pipes might be professional, but regardless the plumbing aisle is one of my favorite sections of the hardware store.  Pipe fittings are just beautiful.  Especially the copper and brass ones.  I’m constantly having to talk myself out of buying them.  Turns out I’m not alone.

“Once while lost in the aisles of a large suburban hardware store, we stumbled upon shelves full of plumbing PVC fittings, strangely beautiful in their white sculptural expression. Marcel Duchamp’s oft-quoted statement, “The only works of art America has given are her plumbing and her bridges,” suddenly acquired new meaning. We assembled our first American Plumbing flower vases in true “readymade” fashion, using proper PVC parts and plumber’s adhesive”
— Constantine and Laurene Leon Boym, Curious Boym (149)

I loved this passage (actually the entire book and the vases and Boym Partners Inc) when I first came across it, but I never researched the Duchamp quote.  Of course it was written in the context of Fountain being rejected as a work of art, and hard to trace like all mischievous Dada works.  Mystery is part of the magic.  And it’s part of the magic of pipes too.  I’m not sure the fittings would be so beautiful if we knew what they were for…

 Blind Man Issue No. 2 page 5 courtesy University of Iowa Library

Blind Man Issue No. 2 page 5 courtesy University of Iowa Library

gaskets + rings

gaskets + rings

the key to keys

the key to keys