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art is rubbish
Close up of the installation, courtesy of the artistsvia Facebook

It’s confirmed: modern art is rubbish

Cleaners clear away a huge installation at a gallery after literally mistaking it for trash

A lot of us don’t really get modern art. I was never great at school and dropped out of A Level photography so I would be hesitant to call myself an expert. Regrettably, I’m not sure if I have those eyes that see art in everything, find magic in the mundane.

As one of “those” people, I can totally sympathise with a group of cleaners who mistook an art installation for actual rubbish. In an Italian gallery, a piece was cleared away by workers after they legitimately thought the room had been trashed.

The installation, called “Where shall we go dancing tonight?”, was an entire room filled with cigarette butts, empty bottles and confetti, designed to depict 1980s hedonism. It basically looked like some guests had a wild one at an opening the night before and completely fucked up the gallery. Which, if you’ve been to a few exhibition openings despite not knowing much about art like I have, isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. At all.

Curator Letizia Ragaglia told the local Alto Adige newspaper: “On Friday night there was an event at the museum. We told the staff just to clean up the foyer and to leave everything else alone. Evidently they thought that this area was part of the foyer.” She added: “Of course we tell staff not to clean away art.”

Fortunately the mistake was spotted before the items were thrown away or sent to be recycled, and museum bosses promised no one would even know the difference. “We’ll put everything back as it was, using photos to help us,” said Ms Ragaglia.

I guess the lesson is that if your work is a pile of rubbish, it might get treated like one.