By 1917 I had escaped the horrors of the war in Europe. Travelling by cargo ship from Norway I arrived in New York penniless but full of hope.
I made my way to Marcel Duchamps studio where I knew I would recieve a warm welcome and enjoy scintillating conversation.
"Mutty". He cried when he saw me at the door. He had always called me Mutt or Mutty since once likening me to a lost puppy some years before. "Mutty, come in come in, have a drink and tell me about this ghastly business in Europe".
We talked late into the night and drank a considerable amount of Bourbon which I had never tasted before; to this day if I taste the stuff I am taken back to that Night in New York. Marcel had that day bought a new urinal for the bathroom, it lay on a table in a corner of the studio; at some time I had picked it up and admired it... "It is not Art Mutty" he had said. "Oh but it is". I had replied. He asked me why I could say this with such confidence. "Because, dear Marcel, I am an artist and if I say it is art it is art!"
I thought no more of this conversation until that very urinal appeared at the Society of Independent Artists. Emblazoned with the signature: R. MUTT.
Nearly ten years later, back in belgium, I recalled this incident to Rene Magritte. Rene asked me if i really did think it was Art... "Well it certainly wasn't a pipe!" I replied.
"Oh the treachery of images." He said!