Thursday, June 15, 2006


A prestigious art gallery in London proudly displayed a block of stone which was meant to be a plinth for a sculpture of a human head, with the little bone-shaped piece of wood meant to hold up the sculpture, but without the sculpture itself.

It was part of an open competition hosted by the Royal Academy. Apparently the plinth was shipped separately from the head sculpture, so the exhibitors got confused. The academy explained it thusly: "Given their separete submission, the two parts were judged independently. . . The head was rejected, the base was thought to have merit and accepted."

What does it say about art galleries -- and art critics, for that matter -- when they accept a block of slate as a valid and meritorious work of art, but disregard the sweat and toil of the artist?

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