Friday, November 23, 2007

Art or Trash?

The Scotsman [UK]
23 November 2007

It's in the bag if you keep an open mind


THERE'S a story that circulates on the subject of contemporary art, that an artist made an installation out of rubbish which appeared in a London gallery with a hefty price tag attached. All was well until the cleaner came and threw it away.

I've heard several versions of this story over the years, naming different artists and different galleries, affirming that it has now reached the level of urban myth. It's hardly surprising: people like the joke. You have to be a highly cultured person, it implies, to tell the difference between contemporary art and rubbish. [...]

[Another interpretation is that sophisticated museum-goers are unable to see the obvious difference between art and trash, whereas an uncultured worker can. Not overly refined myself, I always thought that was the point of the story. Ms. Mansfield, an arts reporter, interprets it differently. -- bc]