June 14, 2006


Artist laughs his head off at the RA (Sally Pook, 15/06/2006, Daily Telegraph)

David Hensel could not help but chuckle when he went to see his sculpture on display at the Royal Academy.

At first, after wandering through the Summer Exhibition, he concluded that it was nowhere to be seen. But eventually he found it. Or rather, he didn't.

What he did find was the sculpture's empty plinth and wooden base displayed as "Exhibit 1201".

Mr Hensel had never considered the empty plinth a work of art in itself. But the exhibition selectors evidently did. So, too, did visitors, who pronounced it beautiful.

No one seemed to notice, or mind, that the sculpture itself, a laughing head entitled One Day Closer to Paradise, was missing. "What apparently happened was that they had become separated and the selectors judged the empty base a good enough sculpture in its own right to include it in the show," said Mr Hensel.

Which is all you really need to know about Modern Art.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 14, 2006 9:10 PM

Just a couple of weeks before the birth of my youngest son, now 42, a friend and I were walking down the ramp at the then new Guggenheim Museum which was showing modern "art." One piece was rather small and amorphous. The card describing it was too small to read standing up, so we bent down to read it, and it said, "Mother and Child."

We both started to laugh and couldn't stop, so we were escorted out by two very embarrassed uniformed guards for disturbing the tranquility of the other museum goers. Never had so much fun in my life.

So much for modern art indeed.

Posted by: erp at June 14, 2006 10:29 PM

In our town one of the local colleges sponsored a "watch the sculpture happen" project. The head of the "art" dept. would actually create the sculpture over a period of a few weeks right where it was to be displayed. After it had been finished for several weeks my nephew and I road past and I related the project to him. He looked at the sculpture and with the wisdom only a 9 yr. old could have said, "It should be nice when it's finished...what is it supposed to be?"

Posted by: Bartman at June 15, 2006 7:52 AM

Fortunately, the "Bean" is rapidly become the unofficial face of sculpture in Chicago. Never did care much for the Picasso or the Daley Plaza where it is sited. It was good for a photo op when they put a headband on it for the Super Bowl.

Posted by: Rick T. at June 15, 2006 10:37 AM

Then there's the story about the NYCMMA getting a Dali and putting on display, and the painter coming a few months later for the formal unveiling. When they pulled back the curtain, Salvador Dali's response on looking was to slowwwwly twist his head over to nearly upside down, and then gradually stand up straight, and then smile broadly.

Posted by: ed in texas at June 15, 2006 12:28 PM

Modern art always struck me as somewhat empty headed. These story would seem to confirm that impression.

Posted by: JonSK at June 15, 2006 12:40 PM

Modern Art is like Cheech & Chong movies - they're only entertaining when you're stoned. Now that I no longer do such foolish things they just seem pathetic to me.

Posted by: Bryan at June 15, 2006 2:47 PM


Now I understand why I never could get modern art. Makes complete sense now.

Posted by: Jay at June 15, 2006 5:01 PM

Dude, like, you're bogarting the Pollock again, man.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 15, 2006 7:38 PM

Our Federal Building in Anchorage had a "modern" painting several feet tall on one of the walls. It looked as though the artist had just splashed paint on the canvas.

One visitor from Seattle saw the painting and remarked "So you have vandalism up here, too".

It's not often that Uncle Sam pays to have the vandalism installed!

Posted by: Mervin at June 16, 2006 10:57 PM


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