Thursday, June 15, 2006

The modern art world shows its colors (yet again)

File this under impressive:

One of Britain's most prestigious art galleries put a block of slate on display, topped by a small piece of wood, in the mistaken belief it was a work of art.

The Royal Academy included the chunk of stone and the small bone-shaped wooden stick in its summer exhibition in London.

But the slate was actually a plinth -- a slab on which a pedestal is placed -- and the stick was designed to prop up a sculpture. The sculpture itself -- of a human head -- was nowhere to be seen.

"I think the things got separated in the selection process and the selectors presented the plinth as a complete sculpture," the work's artist David Hensel told BBC radio.

The academy explained the error by saying the plinth and the head were sent to the exhibitors separately.

"Given their separate submission, the two parts were judged independently," it said in a statement. "The head was rejected. The base was thought to have merit and accepted.

"The head has been safely stored ready to be collected by the artist," it added. "It is accepted that works may not be displayed in the way that the artist might have intended." [Reuters]
This story is poetic beyond compare. I wonder if the artist will see an increase in demand for his plinths, on the grounds that the Royal Academy found them to have artistic merit? And more fundamentally, will the artist leave modern art altogether, on the grounds that his plinth was recognized, but his head was ignored?

Update: This article here has photos:

I found this statement simply stunning:

Clearly amused, Mr Hensel said: "Anything, even if it is not intended to be art, can still have a presence. I like the look of the plinth and support. I can recognize it as a nice object. But I never thought the selectors would choose it as an exhibit."
This story makes me both laugh and cry. Here, one sees plain evidence that the Royal Academy is corrupt and that it has reduced itself to an object of ridicule, yet all the artist can do is equivocate for them, saying he understands how they were taken in by his slab's "presence." He's so utterly blinded by modernism and the cult of the ugly, he can't even see the art world for for the fraud it has allowed itself to become--even when it negativly impacts the presentation of his own work.

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