Friday, 13 November 2015

An Easy Enough Mistake

It was an easy enough mistake to make with modern art. The cleaner came into the gallery and saw a mess, a real mess all over the floor. She no doubt sighed at the injustice of her low pay, and the obvious wealth of the patrons who had been drinking vast numbers of bottles of expensive wines and champagne.

But she was a professional and wanted to keep her job, so she rolled up her mental sleeves and set to work. She gathered all the bottles together and put them in the appropriate recycling bags, and then she swept all the confetti and cigarette butts (this was Italy after all, and cigarette bans were little observed), and binned them.

Finished, she probably took a last look round at the empty room, nodded to herself, in a small measure of satisfaction at a job well done, and then moved on to the next gallery.

I Think I Prefer The Empty Room As A Comment On Modern Art

Only ‘The Mess’ she had just cleaned up was an artist’s ‘work of installation art’ by Goldschmied and Chiari entitled “Where shall we go dancing tonight?". Apparently it was meant to represent ‘the hedonism and political corruption of the 1980s’. The Museion Bozen-Bolzano reinstalled the art using video and photo footage from its earlier installation and joked it had some "bad luck with the new cleaning lady". 

The Tate Had A Similar Accident .... Rubbish or Art?

Of course this has happened at the Tate in the UK when a cleaner binned a bag of rubbish by Gustav Metzger in 2004, and in Bari, southern Italy, in February 2014 when a cleaner threw away an artwork by Sala Murat.

If life imitates or reflects art, then these are very telling commentaries on what passes for modern art these days, by ordinary people like the cleaners.


  1. If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth. - Carl Sagan, astronomer and author (9 Nov 1934-1996)

    ...that's to say that if it can be mistaken for rubbish, it deserves to be treated as rubbish. A joke isn't funny if you have to explain it.

    On the other hand, could it be that the cleaner was making a statement of her own? Either way I'd like to see more of her work in galleries throughout the UK.

    1. The Turner Prize is always the oddest because its doubtful that Turner would ever have recognised the winners as art.

    2. Tracey Emmins always gets mentioned with her unmade dirty bed described as art.

    3. What about the guy who cut up a shark? They must laugh in the pub whenever they win money or sell this junk to idiots like satchi

    4. Thanks for comment(s) .... I can't disagree.... it was Damien Hirst by the way.


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