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Hurrah for the cleaner who accidentally threw away a modern art exhibit

1 November 2015

5:03 PM

1 November 2015

5:03 PM

Hero of the week is undoubtedly the cleaner at the Museion Bozen-Bolzano in Italy. Faced with a horrible mess in the main gallery – fag ends, empty bottles, party streamers – she cleaned it all up, put it in black bags and chucked it out. Yes, of course – it was an ‘installation’ by the artists Sara Goldschmied and Eleonora Chiari. As the Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi put it, ‘If she thought it was rubbish, it means it was. Art should be understood by everyone — including cleaners.’

Quite – and you’d think that would be an end to it. But no, the Guardian’s art critic said instead that the cleaner’s peremptory actions were ‘proof of the enduring vitality’ of modern art. Proof of your enduring delusion, mate. There’s a fine exhibition in London right now by the artist Peter Goodfellow which debunks the narcissism and worthlessness of our own conceptual artists, the Emins and Hirsts etc. But I fear that while the public – especially the cleaners – may be right with him, the critics won’t be. They have a dog in the fight, after all.


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