June 14, 2003 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Blue collar whimsy : art crime. After viewing abstract sculptures by John Chamberlain crafted with materials such as crushed automobile parts, a group of electricians created their own work and placed it alongside Chamberlain's. Is this mad for real? Class warfare? "This was something that wasn't mistaken as a work of art by anyone other than the electricians."
posted by the fire you left me (11 comments total)
how ephemeral is "art"!
"The museum threw away the electricians' sculpture."
yet it venerates trashed auto part arrangements. simply because one was "created" by an individual designated as "artist" and the other by those designated "electrician". the process by which those designations were put in place and stick is fascinating to ponder, and the actual differences between the output of those designations practically non-existent.

having just cleaned my ear with a popsicle stick, i offer for your enjoyment (and bidding pleasure!) "ear wax on popsicle stick", quonsar 2003, cerumen gland excretion on pine.
posted by quonsar at 9:59 AM on June 14, 2003

and the actual differences between the output of those designations practically non-existent

I take it, then, you got into the Dia before it opened to the public and actually saw the electricians' work? 'Cause that's the only way you could say something like that and not be talking out of your ass.
posted by languagehat at 10:05 AM on June 14, 2003

oh, no, i'm most definitely talking out of my ass. i'm a designated ass-talker.
posted by quonsar at 10:16 AM on June 14, 2003

Since it never opened to the public, it was only seen by curatorial staff; and particularly in this case, where they supervise a personal collection, they would be personally familiar with each of the important items. In fact, since the electricians' foreman Vega was "unavailable for comment", a malady which did not plague the museum staff, I suspect they're playing the whole thing up deliberately. The exhibit opened a month ago.
posted by dhartung at 10:18 AM on June 14, 2003

I imagine it would have gone unnoticed had the electricians had the foresight to craft a proper placard, etc. The curators likely noticed it only when they went through their records and found that they'd one extra work in the gallery.

Unfortunate that they threw it out. Had the artist been particularly cool, he'd have allowed it to remain.

Quonsar: I'm very interested in your work. Perhaps you could develop an 'Excretion Series' by mounting your various discharges on popsicle sticks. I'll serve as your agent if you give me 40% of all sales. Think about it.
posted by aladfar at 11:11 AM on June 14, 2003

I bet this would never happen in Chicago.
posted by Ayn Marx at 11:33 AM on June 14, 2003

It bugs me that they threw it out. I'm not sure why, but I'll know the reason when I see it.
posted by Cerebus at 12:49 PM on June 14, 2003

If the gallery owners were smart, they'd commission a few more pieces from the electricians, and put on a show featuring this newly-discovered blue-collar artist collective. They'd make a fortune.
posted by majcher at 5:08 PM on June 14, 2003

I can't believe that they would just throw out a piece of art even if it was made by electricians. Hey all artists have to get their start somewhere. If they threw my art out, I'd sue.
posted by IndigoSkye at 5:41 PM on June 14, 2003

assemblage,2001. Damien Hirst
posted by sailormouth at 7:46 PM on June 14, 2003

I have to agree that throwing away the electrician's sculpture seems petty. At the very least, they could have let the electricians have it back.
posted by dejah420 at 9:30 PM on June 14, 2003

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