Tuesday 27th October 2015Political Satire Installation Accidentally Thrown Away
All is not quite right in the halls of the Museion modern art gallery in Bolzano, Italy. Only the artist behind the piece in question will know exactly for sure, but perhaps even that might not save the installation, because it was accidentally gathered up by cleaning staff and meticulously and carefully cleaned away. When you stop and hear the story, however, it begins to take on a surreal, ironic hilarity all of its own that might actually make it a better piece than it was originally - if the Milanese artist duo Goldschmied & Chiari can capitalize on the opportunity instead of being caught up in anger.
There had been an opening the previous night, and as most of you who've been to your fair share of gallery openings will know (and the smaller share of those that got a bit out of control, of course, the floor of a gallery can look something like a cleaner's nightmare. That's surely what the staff must have thought when they arrived the morning after the opening, only to be greeted by a room literally covered with bottles, cigarette butts, clothes, shoes, and other detritus that you might expect to find after a particularly wild party. The cleaners set about restoring the gallery to it's properly cleaned state, only to realize after they were finished that the refuse they had spent so long cleaning was actually the star of the gallery opening the night before.
Entitled 'We were going to dance tonight', the exhibit was supposed to be a political sendup of the over-the-top parties that were apparently classic pastimes of previous generations of Italian political elites. It should be no surprise, then, that the average person was left to clean up the mess - even if they were the only ones who wanted to bother to do so.
As hilarious as it may sound to those who are somewhat skeptical of the value of modern conceptual art, this is not the first time this has happened. We recently wrote about hotel cleaning staff who accidentally cleaned away a piece of artwork intended for an upcoming auction, although police still haven't determined if that was just a clever smokescreen for a theft. Numerous other accounts have amused and delighted readers for years, but perhaps we in the art world should actually be taking it as a criticism of just how far our conceptual reaches have gone.
Posted on October 27th 2015 on 03:35am
Wednesday 06th May 2015Christo Returns with Another Great Project
While not exactly the most prolific artist on the planet, Christo has finally returned from a 10 year hiatus to realize his latest masterpiece. Admittedly, his projects tend to be of a scale so grand and dramatic that he can hardly be expected to produce them as rapidly as someone working in more conventional areas, but a 10 year gap between projects is quite a long silence for the artist who once said, 'The work of art is a scream of freedom.' Unfortunately for him (and by extension, unfortunately for all of us), his wife and long-time collaborator, Jeanne-Claude, passed away during the preceding 10 years due to complications from a brain aneurysm, which no doubt contributed to his withdrawal from the art world.
However, Christo will scream again this year in Italy, as he plans to create a massive, temporary installation on Lake Iseo, following his signature style of ephemeral projects that bewitch the imagination. The project, dubbed 'The Floating Piers', will be a 3 kilometer pier that connects three of the lake's islands, all while wrapped in 70,000 square meters of silken yellow fabric. Like all of his projects, it's a huge undertaking to complete the installation, and it will only exist for a very short 16 days in the month of June 2016.
Christo's last piece, produced with his wife before her death, was an installation titled 'The Gates' in New York's Central Park, which consisted of - you guessed it - a staggering 7,503 'gates' of saffron yellow fabric that were interspersed along the various walking paths of the park. It cost an unbelievable $21 million USD to create, and took nearly 30 years to complete from conception to installation, but it was hailed by many critics as a triumphant success. The New York Times, that most prickly of art critics, called it "a work of pure joy, a vast populist spectacle of good will and simple eloquence, the first great public art event of the 21st century."
Hopefully, The Floating Piers will be hailed as an equal success, as it's to deny the fact that the world can always use a bit more good will and simple eloquence - both the art world and the rest of the world included. If you're in Italy during the magical two weeks that it exists, be sure to take the time to visit it.
Posted on May 06th 2015 on 04:11pm