Sunday, February 02, 2014

Sisi Belle and the raw cash value of beauty

There’s been a combination of tutting and chuckling at the antics of nine-year-old Sisi Belle Bolongaro Trevor, who climbed onto a Donald Judd sculpture at Tate Modern: “kids today are running out of control” and “that’s not really art” oozed together to form a potential entry for next year’s Turner Prize. But I was more intrigued by the response of Stephanie Theodore, the tourist who shopped Sisi and her parents on Twitter (as you do these days, I guess). “Do you know this is a $10 million artwork?” she’s said to have enquired. Which does make me wonder, does the inviolability of a piece of art increase in proportion to its market value? Would Ms Theodore have been more relaxed if the piece had only been worth a million dollars, or a thousand, or 27 cents?

And then there’s the story of Martin Lang, who was informed that not only was the painting for which he’d paid £100,000 not actually by Marc Chagall as he’d thought, but under French law it has to be destroyed. I hope he turns the destruction into a work of art in itself, in emulation of Michael Landy, who ground all his possessions to dust a few years back, or maybe Olga Dogaru, who became a conceptualist by accident when she supposedly burned the paintings her son had stolen from a Rotterdam museum. Maybe Lang should ask Sisi Belle Bolongaro Trevor to clamber all over the canvas first.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Henry Moore liked children climbing on his sculpture. One of the plots in William Gaddis's A Frolic of his Own is this: "A contentious sculptor called R. Szyrk has erected a towering, “site-specific” metal sculpture (“Cyclone Seven”) in a small Virginia village. A dog, Spot, belonging to a little boy, wanders into the intricate (and menacing) sculpture and is entrapped in its complex entrails. The village wants to rescue the dog, but the sculptor gets an injunction forbidding any tampering with his work of art... "