Saturday, November 05, 2011

Overzealous cleaner ruins £690,000 artwork that she thought was dirty

An overzealous cleaner in Germany has ruined a piece of modern art worth £690,000 after mistaking it for an eyesore that needed a good scrub. The sculpture by the German artist Martin Kippenberger, widely regarded as one of the most talented artists of his generation until his death in 1997, had been on loan to the Ostwall Museum in Dortmund when it fell prey to the cleaner's scouring pad.

The work, called When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling (Wenn's anfängt durch die Decke zu tropfen), comprised a rubber trough placed underneath a rickety wooden tower made from slats. Inside the trough, Kippenberger had spread a layer of paint representing dried rainwater.

He thought it was art: the cleaner saw it as a challenge, and set about making the bucket look like new. A spokeswoman for the museum said that the female cleaner "removed the patina from the four walls of the trough".

"It is now impossible to return it to its original state," she said, adding that it had been on loan to the museum from a private collector and was valued by insurers at €800,000 (£690,000). She said that cleaning crews had been told to keep 20cm (8in) away from artworks, but it was unclear if the woman – who worked for a company to which cleaning had been outsourced – had received the memo.


shak said...

It's going to be tough on her to find a new job in this economy.

Ratz said...

I remember watching a documentary on the building of the tate modern, fancy modern benches were supposed to be placed in front of various walls to allow people to sit and stare at the art.. However they weren't installed, when asked why, the foreman responded that he thought they were art and he'd been told not to touch the art.

soubriquet said...

I'd give her a job instantly. Some cleaners do the bare minimum, this woman was trying her best to do the job she's paid for.
As for the 'artwork'? It's crap by any standards. Her sin? Pointing out that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes.

Ratz said...

I like the emperor's new clothes comment :)