February 21, 2014

More artwork that the cleaning lady threw out.

"Works made out of newspaper and cardboard, and cookie pieces scattered across the floor as part of Sala Murat's display were thrown out."
It is not the first time artwork has been accidentally thrown away by a cleaner.

In 2001, a Damien Hirst installation at London's Eyestorm Gallery consisting of a collection of beer bottles, coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays was cleared away.

Later, in 2004, a bag of paper and cardboard by German artist Gustav Metzger was also thrown out while on a display at Tate Britain.
This is so predictable that I cannot believe that the cleaning people aren't well instructed when the artwork is at all mistakable for trash. Why wouldn't the insurance company require it? We're told the insurance company will fork over something like $14,000 for the lost cookies-n-cardboard. Saying so doesn't make it true, and if this is really a publicity stunt, we're receiving lies. But that's all I'm going to say about that, because I need to go photograph the wolf wandering in my hall right now.


Ron said...

As a rule of thumb, it's good to assume Wisconsin is overrun with wolves....better to stay indoors with beer and cheese!

RecChief said...

if it's indistinguishable from trash, is it art?

I'm not being snarky, that is a legitimate question that I have.

Michael K said...

They sound like the most practical of art critics.

tim maguire said...

How could cookies and cardboard get insured for $14,000? I can't imagine how the actuaries would establish a value for it.

The Girl Scouts regularly auction off cookies and cardboard; I bought a functional installation a few months back for $5.00. It didn't last long either.

Anonymous said...

My mother was head housekeeper for a very prominent Milwaukee family for many years. She daily dusted paintings by the Masters (which she thought was a nuisance) ancient vases, and extremely expensive antique furniture. Over the years the Milwaukee lakefront mansion was too large for the grand lady, as her husband died and children were grown, so she sold the mansion and moved to a lovely lakefront condo. The movers were picked for their expertise in moving valuable furniture and treasures, but the one treasure the grand lady didn't trust to the movers was a multi million dollar Ming vase.

That duty was left to my mother and myself to deliver it safely to the condo in my car. The vase was wrapped in a blanket, placed in the back seat, in a cardboard box and since the condo was only a couple of miles up Lake Drive, wasnt too nerve wracking. She was a lovely woman who lived an extraordinary life before marrying into one of Milwaukee's founding families.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons my daughter pursued and attained her art history degree was because as a child she accompanied her grandmother on occasion to Mrs.V's home and Mrs.V. gave the housekeeper's granddaughter her time and expertise and instilled an appreciation of art in her.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

a Damien Hirst installation at London's Eyestorm Gallery consisting of a collection of beer bottles, coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays was cleared away.

That cleaner should go down in legend with the kid who pointed out that the Emperor was naked.

Apparently, only urban intellectuals can appreciate the beauty and philosophical value of a collection of beer bottles, coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays. Others have better sense.

Sigivald said...

Decent art doesn't look like literal trash.

(I'm answering RecChief's question in the negative, at least by the examples I've seen.

I can imagine a possible artwork that looks like literal trash at a glance but on close inspection isn't, however.

e.g. a diaorama of tiny creatures/people/whatever in a "trash city"? Art.

"Trash arranged in a heap as commentary on blah blah blah"? Not art.

Saying it's commentary rounds to logorrhea unless someone who isn't told it's commentary can see communication in it.)

Freeman Hunt said...

That's a great story, Inga. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Freeman, I recall my mother talking about a "very ugly painting" by some guy named Picasso. She didn't understand what Mrs.V saw in it, lol.

Rumpletweezer said...

Perhaps there's less of a problem with paintings being thrown out because they have frames around them. At least, the thinking goes, somebody believes this is art.

mtrobertsattorney said...

I would argue that the very act of throwing out a piece of "trash art" is itself high art.

And because it is high art, it adds to the force and impact of the "trash art" that was trashed. After all, had the cleaning person not thrown it out, none of us here would have been exposed to trashed art's aesthetic power.

Peter said...

If cookies and cardboard are valued at $14,000, isn't there some concern that mice may consume or even carry off the cookies?

Birkel said...

Oh, joy!

We can all be regaled with some event with which Inga has personal (through alleged family members) experience.

Won't that be fun for all the boys and girls? Won't we care?

Now, if Inga is an artistic interpretation of what an untalented scold would sound like, I do so pray some housekeeper will come 'round and mistake her posts for garbage.

Anonymous said...

One man's trash is another man's art.

True story: art lovers oohed and aahed about a little peg in the middle of a display stand. They spoke artsy speaks to compliment the artist's genius.

Surprise! The display was hauled away for some reasons. The peg-like sculpture was a peg to anchor the display.

Erich said...

“The most important thing in art is The Frame. For painting: literally; for other arts: figuratively-- because, without this humble appliance, you can't know where The Art stops and The Real World begins. You have to put a 'box' around it because otherwise, what is that shit on the wall?” -- Frank Zappa

wildswan said...

I would argue that the very act of throwing out a piece of "trash art" is itself high art.

I would argue that the security camera video of the art being thrown out should become part of the exhibit - or become the exhibit along with the trash can, brooms etc.. The cleaner making the decision, the trucks lumbering up to the dumpster, the trucks caught going though the city with satellite overheads and arrows making locations, interviews with the driver, shots of disposal type used - burning, composting etc

Just like CIS except not interesting but the original exhibit wasn't either.

To make it intereting

Then the camera pulls back and back and back out to space and then in again to someone throwing away a coffee cup on the street outside. The display trash can suddenly spews out its contents very close to the rapt video audience. Balloons and confetti, sounds of child crying, picture of a puppy and child under a Xmas tree as the audience scatters. Peruvian Indian music

JackOfClubs said...

I'm with mtrobertsattorney! We need to stop classifying people in such bourgeois categories as "artist" and "cleaner". Mr. Roca should give his nameless employee a new title of "Proletarian Sanitation Artist". The insurance company should give this heroine of hygiene the $14,000 and send her around the country De-installing the dregs of Deconstructionism.

If everything is art, why is making a mess more artistic than cleaning it up? The days of self-satisfied solipsism and neo-nihilist narcisism are passing away. Hail the New Cleanliness. Viva the Revolution.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Some years ago something similar happened in Toronto, a city hosting many film crews, e.g. 'Greek Wedding'. One such crew spent an entire day arranging an alley to look like something in New York, complete with graffiti, lots of trash, a dead cat, and so on.

When they returned to shoot the scene the following morning municipal sanitation workers had removed every bit of it, including the graffiti. Kissinger was not far off the mark when he described Toronto as "New York, run by the Swiss."

SteveR said...

Is this like the panties your mother laid out for you?

Joe said...

In high school, while at a modern art exhibit, a friend and I sat on what we thought was just a nice bench made out of a tree trunk. Turns out that it was a "work of art."

Picking random shit up isn't art, even if it's intriguing or beautiful.

stlcdr said...

When I see such stories as this, and the commentary following, it reminds me: First World Problems.

This whole 'trash as art' meme (for that is what it is, not art) disparages real artists.

But, however, what is art? I know it when I see it.