If art becomes garbage?

A work of art becomes garbage at the Museion Bozen Bolzano where it has been trashed.

This situation where art becomes garbage, for some tragic and for others fun, happened Friday, October 23, yet for all it has reopened a sensitive debate on the definition of a work of art.
Ladies cleaning the Museum in Bolzano have literally cleaned up the exhibition space containing the installation “Where do we go to dance tonight?” The artists Goldschmied & Chiari, had created their work by throwing into a black garbage bag empty bottles of champagne, glasses, streamers and confetti and then spreading these party leftovers around the space. Under the brooms of the ladies the art becomes garbage.

It is a work of “environmental” art that is part of an exhibition, curated by art critic Achille Bonito, and involving several museums. The artists wanted to create an image of the spirit of the ’80s:

“The eighties are for us the stage of childhood, it was the era of consumerism, hedonism, financial speculation, of mass television, politics and socialist parties. During the research we found a 1988 guide to nightclubs of the peninsula written by political (and foreign minister at the time) Gianni De Michelis, ‘Where do we go to dance tonight?’ with a foreword by Gerry Scotti, who inspired us with the title of the work.”

The party then became a state of existence, a widespread practice that lasted a decade, the eighties, and marks a piece of Italian history : this is what the two artists wanted to express – to show the sad remains. Garbage becomes art – but not art becomes garbage.

Goldschmied (1975 ) and Chiari (1971 ) have been working since 2001 in Milan and have attracted significant international fame with appearances at the Venice Biennale , the Dublin Contemporary , Berlin , Tel Aviv and Rome . In short, from the way these women are doing it!

After the incident, as expected, the social media went on the rampage .

In the majority of comments (on Facebook, as well as on areas of online media ) users have sided in favour of the cleaning ladies . To exonerate them, not for their apparent naivety (which, if they were careless in their work, they would be equally defensible?) But rather the judgment spread to the works of the two artists defined by experts and non-experts, “garbage, not art.” Sgarbi included – herein art becomes garbage.

The contemporary art scene unleashed daily debates of this kind involving both expert critics and common public opinion.

I do not think you can find an absolute truth, there can be no rule or law that would define what is art . Every artist, as well as every person is free to make his path, finding art in his own time and at his own pace, the answers he needs (and it is possible that the roads he travels have already been covered by others) .

A question, finally, arises : but if the director of the Museum cared so much for the work why was it not possible to prevent the situation by giving the right instructions? Or was it all a question of advertising … ?

We think, maybe, as the story even made the mainline Australian press. And now the ‘work’ has been reconstructed – but is it the same art or trash?

(This article by Lara tassotti is reproduced under licence from Energitismo Limited)