July 26, 2005

Who drank that £42,500 bottle of water?

That bottle of melted ice from the Antarctic was on a damned plinth so it was pretty obvious it was art!

UPDATE (Backdate?): One of the commenters was reminded of something that had crossed my mind too: that time a janitor threw out a trash bag that was actually part of an art exhibit:
A bag of rubbish that was part of a Tate Britain work of art has been accidentally thrown away by a cleaner.

The bag filled with discarded paper and cardboard was part of a work by Gustav Metzger, said to demonstrate the "finite existence" of art....

The bag was part of Metzger's Recreation of First Public Demonstration of Auto-Destructive Art, a copy of a piece he produced in 1960...

Metzger, a German artist who lives in east London, invented "auto-destructive" art in 1959.

The work also features an "acid painting" - nylon covered in acid which slowly destroys it to illustrate the transient nature of paintings, sculptures and other artworks....

It is not the first time such a mistake has been made. In 2001 a cleaner at a London's Eyestorm Gallery gallery cleared away an installation by artist Damien Hirst, having mistaken it for a pile of rubbish.

The collection of beer bottles, coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays was said to represent the chaos of an artist's studio.

And in the 1980s the work of Joseph Beuys, which featured a very dirty bath, was scrubbed clean by a gallery worker in Germany.

I can't help suspecting that these are, if not deliberate publicity stunts, hoped for or welcomed opportunities for press coverage.

17 comments:

Freeman Hunt said...

I wonder if it was particularly refreshing.

I also wonder if anyone would notice the difference were he to get another plastic bottle for the display and fill it with tap water.

lindsey said...

This reminds me of the poor janitor who threw out some trash only to discover it was "art". Don't these people understand what God is telling them? A bottle of water and a bag of trash ain't art, yo.

Jeff Harrell said...

Dude, it was a bottle of freakin' water. I don't care how far they had to go to find the water, it was still just a bottle of water. And the whole "weapon of mass destruction" global warming thing? It sounds more like a screed than an exhibit to me.

I hope somebody did drink it. Because THAT would be art. A literal demonstration of the folly of attaching meaning and value to things that have no intrinsic meaning or value. THAT would have been a statement.

Bruce Hayden said...

The whole way that the value on the bottle of water was set is extremely suspect. The artist apparently figured some huge cost for global warming and then divided by how much ice was going to melt. Or something like that. Artists aren't always the most logical types out there.

DirtCrashr said...

The Martian ice-caps show signs of melting too. Did we do that with our nasty hegemonic imperialist rockets, destroy the ecology of outer space? Martian water would probably be worth it at that price, NASA would have a bargain. Artist are seldom very scientific. Sometimes they're a canary in a coal-mine, sometimes just a bird that poops.

Brendan said...

Well, this falls in line with my belief that most artists are pretentious left-wing fops, but it was still wrong for the vandal to do what he did. After all, artists have the right to be pretentious.

ploopusgirl said...

And I suppose you would suggest that all left-wing people and no right-wing people would defend the artist's beliefs here because we're all morons! Similarly, all artsy people are left wing, and all artsy people are pretentious idiots! Thanks Brendan!

Oh, and you never answered me in that other thread: Where in that BBC article about the man who killed his Korean wife did it ever mention that she was mail-order? Why is it assumed that anyone who married a Korean woman must have ordered her through the mail rather than assume that maybe she just happened to live in Britain without citizenship? Oh? I see. Good answer.

Brendan said...

"And I suppose you would suggest that all left-wing people and no right-wing people would defend the artist's beliefs here because we're all morons! Similarly, all artsy people are left wing, and all artsy people are pretentious idiots! Thanks Brendan!"

Ploopy, are you stalking me or something? Did you not see the "most" qualifier that I threw in? Am I somehow off-base in suggesting that most artists are liberals? I think not.

"Oh, and you never answered me in that other thread.."

How rude! Believe it or not, my world doesn't revolve around you. I come here for discourse with Prof. Althouse, not provocateurs like yourself. You choose to romanticize the Brit couple's relationship; I do not. Tough cheese.

Troy said...

This just sets up his next exhibit:
Antarctic Backwash.

buddyhackett said...

I just wanted to say that I think
you're a really fabulous writer.

Not to mention thinker!

Keep up the good work!

Beachcomber said...

Too funny! If that bottle of water was really art, the six pack of Leinie in my fridge must be a Rembrandt!

bos0x said...

Uh, Brendan, wasn't it you who wrote the fiction about how the British man preyed on the Korean woman in her time of "desperation and need" and when she "no longer suited his purposes" he killed her? Because that scenario was pure romanticism, since it had absolutely nothing to do with anything described in the article (not even counting your mail-order bride theory - I was under the impression that men who marry mail-order brides fantasize about "demure and Asian" not "desperate and needy" which are two of the least erotic adjectives I can think of). I mean, whose plans for murder involve punching the victim once in the jaw? That sounds like the least reliable plan ever, especially when one intends to dispose of someone for not suiting his or her purposes (how deviant and dastardly! or something). Of course, that must have been the real story (what the hell do those PC liberal unAmerican terrorist BBC journalist pussies know, right?), since you're clearly the amazing realist, of course, so don't hate me too hard.

John Jenkins said...

Did the murderer drink the water in the library?

Drethelin said...

I think John just won this conversation.

L. Ron Halfelven said...

Whatever you think of his logic, the "artist" clearly needs to work on his math. Even starting from his high estimate for the cost, and assuming it's based on only the West Antarctic sheet melting, I calculate a 2-liter bottle's share of it at 0.00027 pence.

Couldn't they just refill the thing from the Running Tap installation?

dax said...

OK.(sigh) For 42,500 I'll go to Antarctica and get another bottle of melted ice for the "artist"
Anyone know how I can get a hold of this guy?

Nick said...

Anyone else reminded of the Adam Sandler movie "The Water Boy"... where he's unconsious and his girlfriend brings him that special botter of water that wakes him up...

I can just picture the water thief drinking it and saying to himself, "That's some mighty fine H20."