Art is Garbage: Italian Installation Thrown Away
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Bonanzo, Italy has a fantastic after-hours clean up crew. So great in fact, that they unintentionally swept up a new installation by Milanese artists Goldschmied and Chiari. But when looking at a museum floor filled with 300 empty champagne bottles, littered with mini umbrellas, and garnished with sparkles and silver tinsel, you could see how it’s an easy mistake to make.
The installation, ‘Where Are We Going to Dance Tonight?,’ embodies the ‘80’s in Italy and the raging, hedonistic, and consumerist culture that was the underbelly of the era. The installation piece throttles our senses and redirects us towards an immersive vision of the past. And sometimes, if you’re a janitor, the immersive vision of a clean and tidy room.
Good art? Better janitors? It’s a tough call, but Mr. Clean isn’t to blame. The accident isn’t exactly the first of its kind. Back in 2001, a Damien Hirst installation strewn with half-full coffee cups and cigarette ash – an intended image of his work space – was swept up. In 2014, A Cui Ruzhuo ink painting in Hong Kong was debatably thrown out by cleaning staff. Just last year, a Jim Osman wood and tile sculpture was accidentally trashed by a maintenance worker. Amidst mounting similar accidents, the most recent clean-and-run urges us to consider the fine line between art and reality – which is sufficiently obscured when art closely resembles garbage.
Thankfully, due to some environmentally conscious cleanup, all the materials were properly recycled. The champagne bottles and party decorations were salvaged from their respective glass and paper bins and museum art director, Letizia Ragaglia, hopes to have the installation up and running shortly.
The museum is set to pop champagne once again in a few days, and will hopefully send out more staff memos going forward.