(2001) It is often said that modern art is rubbish, but never did it ring as true as when an art gallery cleaner binned a work by Damien Hirst because he thought the installation was exactly that – leftover rubbish.
Emmanuel Asare thought the piles of full ashtrays, half-filled coffee cups, empty beer bottles and newspapers strewn across the gallery were the remnants of a party in the west London gallery.
Although that is what it was, this rubbish had been arranged by Hirst into an impromptu installation, which increased its value by thousands.
Hirst had arrived at the launch party of a new exhibition of his work, Painting-By-Numbers, on Tuesday night at the Eyestorm gallery. When asked how he would like his prints to be displayed in the windows, the artist, famed for his formaldehyde animals, decided to create a new work.
The next morning when Mr Asare arrived for work, he decided to clean up the mess straight away by putting it all in bin bags. Mr Asare said: “As soon as I clapped eyes on it I sighed because there was so much mess.
“I didn’t think for a second that it was a work of art – it didn’t look much like art to me. So I cleared it all into binbags and dumped it.”
…maybe it is.
See that bag of trash? “The bag filled with discarded paper and cardboard was part of a work by Gustav Metzger, said to demonstrate the “finite existence” of art. It was thrown away by a cleaner at the London gallery, which subsequently retrieved the damaged bag.” (2004)