Last month, Art News reported that Rhonda Roland Shearer, an artist, had been trying for two years to prove that Duchamp's readymades are not really mass-produced objects. She thinks he altered or made them all, then cunningly covered up the evidence to create a time-release surprise.
To Ms. Shearer, this is like discovering that ''there was no historical Jesus.'' She explains: ''You can't just say he was a jokester and move on. What happens to the artists who took the readymade as a sacred truth? It has meant too much to the people who believe it.''