21/10/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
Where Trash Meets Art
Or, how a mutual love of trash unites Banksy, Duchamp, Monkey Christ and John Waters

On 5th October 2018 at Sotheby’s London, a painting of Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon sold for just over £1 million, a then-record for the artist. Within seconds of the piece’s sale however, and to the astonishment of those in attendance, a mechanism whirred into life, and half of the painting was fed through a shredder embedded in the frame

Fast-forward three years to last week, and the painting, still in its half-shredded state, has been sold for £18.5 million. In a statement following the piece’s near-destruction, Sotheby’s described it as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction”. As Banksy later revealed however, the intervention didn’t go entirely to plan; the mechanism jammed before it could finish and the painting, intended to be entirely shredded, remained in its semi-destroyed state, a state which neither the artist nor the recipient intended. Had the stunt been successful, would the resulting shreds of art have sold as well as it did recently? To what extent did the semi-destruction of the piece increase its value?

Love is in the Bin, Banksy, 2018

The conversations this stunt led to are nothing new of course; the postmodern cultural shift towards conceptualism over aestheticism has been gradual but significant, and Banksy’s painting - now retitled Love is in the Bin - exists within the same artistic tradition as Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. First presented in 1917, Duchamp’s piece perhaps stands out as one of the most provocative artworks of the twentieth century, standing out as an open challenge to the very concept of artistic ‘worth’ and frequently cited as the birth of conceptualism. Crucially, both of these pieces raise questions about who dictates artistic and cultural authority; Fountain plays with the notion that this authority comes from the artist themselves, while Love is in the Bin, both in its intended and eventual part-shredded state, turns the question to the wider art world; that the shredder started up mere seconds after the hammer fell only underscores this.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, 1917

Watching the footage of Banksy’s painting being destroyed, however, an altogether more modern cultural authority becomes apparent; before the gasps of surprise have even dissipated, phones are being raised and cameras flash to capture the event. If - as some have speculated - social media has done anything to democratise the cultural conversation, then its role in creating artistic legitimacy should be considered. It’s here that we can consider the place of Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo. The piece itself is unremarkable; an article in The Guardian describes it as ‘a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition’. The fresco gained notoriety, however, in 2012, when amatuer artist Cecilia Giménez attempted a well-intentioned restoration, resulting in the infamous and much-memed image of ‘Monkey Christ’.

LEFT: Ecce Homo, Elías García Martínez, c.1930 | RIGHT: Monkey Christ, Cecilia Giménez, 2012

As with Love is in the Bin, digital word-of-mouth was central to the image’s popularity, and, in the following year, the botched restoration resulted in a local tourism boom, inspiring 40,000 visits to the church and generating over $50,000 for a local charity. Various articles have treated the transformation as a work of art in its own right. Tabloids are also rife with stories of art being destroyed by overzealous cleaners, such as Damien Hirst’s party remnants-based installation being thrown away in 2001, or Tracey Emin’s My Bed having its sheets tucked in by visiting neat-freaks. These tales are often reported in a smug, sneering, ‘my-five-year-old-could-have-done-that’ attitude - the exact attitude which this artistic movement is pushing back against.

Take the Money and Run, Jens Haaning, 2021

Two more examples from the last twelve months: In September, Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning was provided with 523,000 kroner by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalbor to recreate an earlier piece, made up of banknotes to represent the average yearly income in Denmark. What he delivered, however, was a blank frame, a piece of art he titled Take the Money and Run. While the dispute over who gets to keep the money is ongoing - Haaning claims that “this is only a piece of art if I don’t return the money” - the piece certainly exists in the same tradition of artistically legitimised ‘trash’. Similarly, when pioneer of Queer Cinema and self-proclaimed ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters bequeathed his art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art in November he was offered the opportunity to have a wing of the gallery named after him. Naturally - and in-keeping with his love of ‘trash’ and bad taste - he chose the bathrooms in the building’s East Lobby. While artists such as Warhol aspired to elevate the everyday to the highbrow, Waters has spent his career revelling in ‘low’ culture, celebrating filth, camp and trash.

So what can the phenomenon of ‘trash art’ tell us? Should it be treated as nothing more than a (financially) worthless joke, or with the utmost seriousness? Perhaps, in contrast to the contemporary visual culture so frequently defined by spectacle, it is the fact that these images are so emphatically un-spectacular that appeals to a wider digital audience, with the artworks serving as a joke that the upper echelons of the art world aren’t in on. With Duchamp’s Fountain often cited as one of the most influential pieces of art of the twentieth century, and the fact that its legacy persists to this day, one thing is clear: trash has arrived in the art world, and it’s not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
21/10/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
Where Trash Meets Art
Or, how a mutual love of trash unites Banksy, Duchamp, Monkey Christ and John Waters

On 5th October 2018 at Sotheby’s London, a painting of Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon sold for just over £1 million, a then-record for the artist. Within seconds of the piece’s sale however, and to the astonishment of those in attendance, a mechanism whirred into life, and half of the painting was fed through a shredder embedded in the frame

Fast-forward three years to last week, and the painting, still in its half-shredded state, has been sold for £18.5 million. In a statement following the piece’s near-destruction, Sotheby’s described it as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction”. As Banksy later revealed however, the intervention didn’t go entirely to plan; the mechanism jammed before it could finish and the painting, intended to be entirely shredded, remained in its semi-destroyed state, a state which neither the artist nor the recipient intended. Had the stunt been successful, would the resulting shreds of art have sold as well as it did recently? To what extent did the semi-destruction of the piece increase its value?

Love is in the Bin, Banksy, 2018

The conversations this stunt led to are nothing new of course; the postmodern cultural shift towards conceptualism over aestheticism has been gradual but significant, and Banksy’s painting - now retitled Love is in the Bin - exists within the same artistic tradition as Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. First presented in 1917, Duchamp’s piece perhaps stands out as one of the most provocative artworks of the twentieth century, standing out as an open challenge to the very concept of artistic ‘worth’ and frequently cited as the birth of conceptualism. Crucially, both of these pieces raise questions about who dictates artistic and cultural authority; Fountain plays with the notion that this authority comes from the artist themselves, while Love is in the Bin, both in its intended and eventual part-shredded state, turns the question to the wider art world; that the shredder started up mere seconds after the hammer fell only underscores this.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, 1917

Watching the footage of Banksy’s painting being destroyed, however, an altogether more modern cultural authority becomes apparent; before the gasps of surprise have even dissipated, phones are being raised and cameras flash to capture the event. If - as some have speculated - social media has done anything to democratise the cultural conversation, then its role in creating artistic legitimacy should be considered. It’s here that we can consider the place of Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo. The piece itself is unremarkable; an article in The Guardian describes it as ‘a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition’. The fresco gained notoriety, however, in 2012, when amatuer artist Cecilia Giménez attempted a well-intentioned restoration, resulting in the infamous and much-memed image of ‘Monkey Christ’.

LEFT: Ecce Homo, Elías García Martínez, c.1930 | RIGHT: Monkey Christ, Cecilia Giménez, 2012

As with Love is in the Bin, digital word-of-mouth was central to the image’s popularity, and, in the following year, the botched restoration resulted in a local tourism boom, inspiring 40,000 visits to the church and generating over $50,000 for a local charity. Various articles have treated the transformation as a work of art in its own right. Tabloids are also rife with stories of art being destroyed by overzealous cleaners, such as Damien Hirst’s party remnants-based installation being thrown away in 2001, or Tracey Emin’s My Bed having its sheets tucked in by visiting neat-freaks. These tales are often reported in a smug, sneering, ‘my-five-year-old-could-have-done-that’ attitude - the exact attitude which this artistic movement is pushing back against.

Take the Money and Run, Jens Haaning, 2021

Two more examples from the last twelve months: In September, Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning was provided with 523,000 kroner by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalbor to recreate an earlier piece, made up of banknotes to represent the average yearly income in Denmark. What he delivered, however, was a blank frame, a piece of art he titled Take the Money and Run. While the dispute over who gets to keep the money is ongoing - Haaning claims that “this is only a piece of art if I don’t return the money” - the piece certainly exists in the same tradition of artistically legitimised ‘trash’. Similarly, when pioneer of Queer Cinema and self-proclaimed ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters bequeathed his art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art in November he was offered the opportunity to have a wing of the gallery named after him. Naturally - and in-keeping with his love of ‘trash’ and bad taste - he chose the bathrooms in the building’s East Lobby. While artists such as Warhol aspired to elevate the everyday to the highbrow, Waters has spent his career revelling in ‘low’ culture, celebrating filth, camp and trash.

So what can the phenomenon of ‘trash art’ tell us? Should it be treated as nothing more than a (financially) worthless joke, or with the utmost seriousness? Perhaps, in contrast to the contemporary visual culture so frequently defined by spectacle, it is the fact that these images are so emphatically un-spectacular that appeals to a wider digital audience, with the artworks serving as a joke that the upper echelons of the art world aren’t in on. With Duchamp’s Fountain often cited as one of the most influential pieces of art of the twentieth century, and the fact that its legacy persists to this day, one thing is clear: trash has arrived in the art world, and it’s not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
21/10/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
Where Trash Meets Art
Or, how a mutual love of trash unites Banksy, Duchamp, Monkey Christ and John Waters

On 5th October 2018 at Sotheby’s London, a painting of Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon sold for just over £1 million, a then-record for the artist. Within seconds of the piece’s sale however, and to the astonishment of those in attendance, a mechanism whirred into life, and half of the painting was fed through a shredder embedded in the frame

Fast-forward three years to last week, and the painting, still in its half-shredded state, has been sold for £18.5 million. In a statement following the piece’s near-destruction, Sotheby’s described it as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction”. As Banksy later revealed however, the intervention didn’t go entirely to plan; the mechanism jammed before it could finish and the painting, intended to be entirely shredded, remained in its semi-destroyed state, a state which neither the artist nor the recipient intended. Had the stunt been successful, would the resulting shreds of art have sold as well as it did recently? To what extent did the semi-destruction of the piece increase its value?

Love is in the Bin, Banksy, 2018

The conversations this stunt led to are nothing new of course; the postmodern cultural shift towards conceptualism over aestheticism has been gradual but significant, and Banksy’s painting - now retitled Love is in the Bin - exists within the same artistic tradition as Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. First presented in 1917, Duchamp’s piece perhaps stands out as one of the most provocative artworks of the twentieth century, standing out as an open challenge to the very concept of artistic ‘worth’ and frequently cited as the birth of conceptualism. Crucially, both of these pieces raise questions about who dictates artistic and cultural authority; Fountain plays with the notion that this authority comes from the artist themselves, while Love is in the Bin, both in its intended and eventual part-shredded state, turns the question to the wider art world; that the shredder started up mere seconds after the hammer fell only underscores this.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, 1917

Watching the footage of Banksy’s painting being destroyed, however, an altogether more modern cultural authority becomes apparent; before the gasps of surprise have even dissipated, phones are being raised and cameras flash to capture the event. If - as some have speculated - social media has done anything to democratise the cultural conversation, then its role in creating artistic legitimacy should be considered. It’s here that we can consider the place of Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo. The piece itself is unremarkable; an article in The Guardian describes it as ‘a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition’. The fresco gained notoriety, however, in 2012, when amatuer artist Cecilia Giménez attempted a well-intentioned restoration, resulting in the infamous and much-memed image of ‘Monkey Christ’.

LEFT: Ecce Homo, Elías García Martínez, c.1930 | RIGHT: Monkey Christ, Cecilia Giménez, 2012

As with Love is in the Bin, digital word-of-mouth was central to the image’s popularity, and, in the following year, the botched restoration resulted in a local tourism boom, inspiring 40,000 visits to the church and generating over $50,000 for a local charity. Various articles have treated the transformation as a work of art in its own right. Tabloids are also rife with stories of art being destroyed by overzealous cleaners, such as Damien Hirst’s party remnants-based installation being thrown away in 2001, or Tracey Emin’s My Bed having its sheets tucked in by visiting neat-freaks. These tales are often reported in a smug, sneering, ‘my-five-year-old-could-have-done-that’ attitude - the exact attitude which this artistic movement is pushing back against.

Take the Money and Run, Jens Haaning, 2021

Two more examples from the last twelve months: In September, Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning was provided with 523,000 kroner by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalbor to recreate an earlier piece, made up of banknotes to represent the average yearly income in Denmark. What he delivered, however, was a blank frame, a piece of art he titled Take the Money and Run. While the dispute over who gets to keep the money is ongoing - Haaning claims that “this is only a piece of art if I don’t return the money” - the piece certainly exists in the same tradition of artistically legitimised ‘trash’. Similarly, when pioneer of Queer Cinema and self-proclaimed ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters bequeathed his art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art in November he was offered the opportunity to have a wing of the gallery named after him. Naturally - and in-keeping with his love of ‘trash’ and bad taste - he chose the bathrooms in the building’s East Lobby. While artists such as Warhol aspired to elevate the everyday to the highbrow, Waters has spent his career revelling in ‘low’ culture, celebrating filth, camp and trash.

So what can the phenomenon of ‘trash art’ tell us? Should it be treated as nothing more than a (financially) worthless joke, or with the utmost seriousness? Perhaps, in contrast to the contemporary visual culture so frequently defined by spectacle, it is the fact that these images are so emphatically un-spectacular that appeals to a wider digital audience, with the artworks serving as a joke that the upper echelons of the art world aren’t in on. With Duchamp’s Fountain often cited as one of the most influential pieces of art of the twentieth century, and the fact that its legacy persists to this day, one thing is clear: trash has arrived in the art world, and it’s not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
21/10/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
Where Trash Meets Art
Or, how a mutual love of trash unites Banksy, Duchamp, Monkey Christ and John Waters

On 5th October 2018 at Sotheby’s London, a painting of Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon sold for just over £1 million, a then-record for the artist. Within seconds of the piece’s sale however, and to the astonishment of those in attendance, a mechanism whirred into life, and half of the painting was fed through a shredder embedded in the frame

Fast-forward three years to last week, and the painting, still in its half-shredded state, has been sold for £18.5 million. In a statement following the piece’s near-destruction, Sotheby’s described it as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction”. As Banksy later revealed however, the intervention didn’t go entirely to plan; the mechanism jammed before it could finish and the painting, intended to be entirely shredded, remained in its semi-destroyed state, a state which neither the artist nor the recipient intended. Had the stunt been successful, would the resulting shreds of art have sold as well as it did recently? To what extent did the semi-destruction of the piece increase its value?

Love is in the Bin, Banksy, 2018

The conversations this stunt led to are nothing new of course; the postmodern cultural shift towards conceptualism over aestheticism has been gradual but significant, and Banksy’s painting - now retitled Love is in the Bin - exists within the same artistic tradition as Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. First presented in 1917, Duchamp’s piece perhaps stands out as one of the most provocative artworks of the twentieth century, standing out as an open challenge to the very concept of artistic ‘worth’ and frequently cited as the birth of conceptualism. Crucially, both of these pieces raise questions about who dictates artistic and cultural authority; Fountain plays with the notion that this authority comes from the artist themselves, while Love is in the Bin, both in its intended and eventual part-shredded state, turns the question to the wider art world; that the shredder started up mere seconds after the hammer fell only underscores this.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, 1917

Watching the footage of Banksy’s painting being destroyed, however, an altogether more modern cultural authority becomes apparent; before the gasps of surprise have even dissipated, phones are being raised and cameras flash to capture the event. If - as some have speculated - social media has done anything to democratise the cultural conversation, then its role in creating artistic legitimacy should be considered. It’s here that we can consider the place of Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo. The piece itself is unremarkable; an article in The Guardian describes it as ‘a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition’. The fresco gained notoriety, however, in 2012, when amatuer artist Cecilia Giménez attempted a well-intentioned restoration, resulting in the infamous and much-memed image of ‘Monkey Christ’.

LEFT: Ecce Homo, Elías García Martínez, c.1930 | RIGHT: Monkey Christ, Cecilia Giménez, 2012

As with Love is in the Bin, digital word-of-mouth was central to the image’s popularity, and, in the following year, the botched restoration resulted in a local tourism boom, inspiring 40,000 visits to the church and generating over $50,000 for a local charity. Various articles have treated the transformation as a work of art in its own right. Tabloids are also rife with stories of art being destroyed by overzealous cleaners, such as Damien Hirst’s party remnants-based installation being thrown away in 2001, or Tracey Emin’s My Bed having its sheets tucked in by visiting neat-freaks. These tales are often reported in a smug, sneering, ‘my-five-year-old-could-have-done-that’ attitude - the exact attitude which this artistic movement is pushing back against.

Take the Money and Run, Jens Haaning, 2021

Two more examples from the last twelve months: In September, Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning was provided with 523,000 kroner by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalbor to recreate an earlier piece, made up of banknotes to represent the average yearly income in Denmark. What he delivered, however, was a blank frame, a piece of art he titled Take the Money and Run. While the dispute over who gets to keep the money is ongoing - Haaning claims that “this is only a piece of art if I don’t return the money” - the piece certainly exists in the same tradition of artistically legitimised ‘trash’. Similarly, when pioneer of Queer Cinema and self-proclaimed ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters bequeathed his art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art in November he was offered the opportunity to have a wing of the gallery named after him. Naturally - and in-keeping with his love of ‘trash’ and bad taste - he chose the bathrooms in the building’s East Lobby. While artists such as Warhol aspired to elevate the everyday to the highbrow, Waters has spent his career revelling in ‘low’ culture, celebrating filth, camp and trash.

So what can the phenomenon of ‘trash art’ tell us? Should it be treated as nothing more than a (financially) worthless joke, or with the utmost seriousness? Perhaps, in contrast to the contemporary visual culture so frequently defined by spectacle, it is the fact that these images are so emphatically un-spectacular that appeals to a wider digital audience, with the artworks serving as a joke that the upper echelons of the art world aren’t in on. With Duchamp’s Fountain often cited as one of the most influential pieces of art of the twentieth century, and the fact that its legacy persists to this day, one thing is clear: trash has arrived in the art world, and it’s not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
21/10/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
Where Trash Meets Art
Or, how a mutual love of trash unites Banksy, Duchamp, Monkey Christ and John Waters

On 5th October 2018 at Sotheby’s London, a painting of Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon sold for just over £1 million, a then-record for the artist. Within seconds of the piece’s sale however, and to the astonishment of those in attendance, a mechanism whirred into life, and half of the painting was fed through a shredder embedded in the frame

Fast-forward three years to last week, and the painting, still in its half-shredded state, has been sold for £18.5 million. In a statement following the piece’s near-destruction, Sotheby’s described it as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction”. As Banksy later revealed however, the intervention didn’t go entirely to plan; the mechanism jammed before it could finish and the painting, intended to be entirely shredded, remained in its semi-destroyed state, a state which neither the artist nor the recipient intended. Had the stunt been successful, would the resulting shreds of art have sold as well as it did recently? To what extent did the semi-destruction of the piece increase its value?

Love is in the Bin, Banksy, 2018

The conversations this stunt led to are nothing new of course; the postmodern cultural shift towards conceptualism over aestheticism has been gradual but significant, and Banksy’s painting - now retitled Love is in the Bin - exists within the same artistic tradition as Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. First presented in 1917, Duchamp’s piece perhaps stands out as one of the most provocative artworks of the twentieth century, standing out as an open challenge to the very concept of artistic ‘worth’ and frequently cited as the birth of conceptualism. Crucially, both of these pieces raise questions about who dictates artistic and cultural authority; Fountain plays with the notion that this authority comes from the artist themselves, while Love is in the Bin, both in its intended and eventual part-shredded state, turns the question to the wider art world; that the shredder started up mere seconds after the hammer fell only underscores this.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, 1917

Watching the footage of Banksy’s painting being destroyed, however, an altogether more modern cultural authority becomes apparent; before the gasps of surprise have even dissipated, phones are being raised and cameras flash to capture the event. If - as some have speculated - social media has done anything to democratise the cultural conversation, then its role in creating artistic legitimacy should be considered. It’s here that we can consider the place of Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo. The piece itself is unremarkable; an article in The Guardian describes it as ‘a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition’. The fresco gained notoriety, however, in 2012, when amatuer artist Cecilia Giménez attempted a well-intentioned restoration, resulting in the infamous and much-memed image of ‘Monkey Christ’.

LEFT: Ecce Homo, Elías García Martínez, c.1930 | RIGHT: Monkey Christ, Cecilia Giménez, 2012

As with Love is in the Bin, digital word-of-mouth was central to the image’s popularity, and, in the following year, the botched restoration resulted in a local tourism boom, inspiring 40,000 visits to the church and generating over $50,000 for a local charity. Various articles have treated the transformation as a work of art in its own right. Tabloids are also rife with stories of art being destroyed by overzealous cleaners, such as Damien Hirst’s party remnants-based installation being thrown away in 2001, or Tracey Emin’s My Bed having its sheets tucked in by visiting neat-freaks. These tales are often reported in a smug, sneering, ‘my-five-year-old-could-have-done-that’ attitude - the exact attitude which this artistic movement is pushing back against.

Take the Money and Run, Jens Haaning, 2021

Two more examples from the last twelve months: In September, Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning was provided with 523,000 kroner by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalbor to recreate an earlier piece, made up of banknotes to represent the average yearly income in Denmark. What he delivered, however, was a blank frame, a piece of art he titled Take the Money and Run. While the dispute over who gets to keep the money is ongoing - Haaning claims that “this is only a piece of art if I don’t return the money” - the piece certainly exists in the same tradition of artistically legitimised ‘trash’. Similarly, when pioneer of Queer Cinema and self-proclaimed ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters bequeathed his art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art in November he was offered the opportunity to have a wing of the gallery named after him. Naturally - and in-keeping with his love of ‘trash’ and bad taste - he chose the bathrooms in the building’s East Lobby. While artists such as Warhol aspired to elevate the everyday to the highbrow, Waters has spent his career revelling in ‘low’ culture, celebrating filth, camp and trash.

So what can the phenomenon of ‘trash art’ tell us? Should it be treated as nothing more than a (financially) worthless joke, or with the utmost seriousness? Perhaps, in contrast to the contemporary visual culture so frequently defined by spectacle, it is the fact that these images are so emphatically un-spectacular that appeals to a wider digital audience, with the artworks serving as a joke that the upper echelons of the art world aren’t in on. With Duchamp’s Fountain often cited as one of the most influential pieces of art of the twentieth century, and the fact that its legacy persists to this day, one thing is clear: trash has arrived in the art world, and it’s not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
21/10/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
Where Trash Meets Art

On 5th October 2018 at Sotheby’s London, a painting of Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon sold for just over £1 million, a then-record for the artist. Within seconds of the piece’s sale however, and to the astonishment of those in attendance, a mechanism whirred into life, and half of the painting was fed through a shredder embedded in the frame

Fast-forward three years to last week, and the painting, still in its half-shredded state, has been sold for £18.5 million. In a statement following the piece’s near-destruction, Sotheby’s described it as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction”. As Banksy later revealed however, the intervention didn’t go entirely to plan; the mechanism jammed before it could finish and the painting, intended to be entirely shredded, remained in its semi-destroyed state, a state which neither the artist nor the recipient intended. Had the stunt been successful, would the resulting shreds of art have sold as well as it did recently? To what extent did the semi-destruction of the piece increase its value?

Love is in the Bin, Banksy, 2018

The conversations this stunt led to are nothing new of course; the postmodern cultural shift towards conceptualism over aestheticism has been gradual but significant, and Banksy’s painting - now retitled Love is in the Bin - exists within the same artistic tradition as Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. First presented in 1917, Duchamp’s piece perhaps stands out as one of the most provocative artworks of the twentieth century, standing out as an open challenge to the very concept of artistic ‘worth’ and frequently cited as the birth of conceptualism. Crucially, both of these pieces raise questions about who dictates artistic and cultural authority; Fountain plays with the notion that this authority comes from the artist themselves, while Love is in the Bin, both in its intended and eventual part-shredded state, turns the question to the wider art world; that the shredder started up mere seconds after the hammer fell only underscores this.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, 1917

Watching the footage of Banksy’s painting being destroyed, however, an altogether more modern cultural authority becomes apparent; before the gasps of surprise have even dissipated, phones are being raised and cameras flash to capture the event. If - as some have speculated - social media has done anything to democratise the cultural conversation, then its role in creating artistic legitimacy should be considered. It’s here that we can consider the place of Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo. The piece itself is unremarkable; an article in The Guardian describes it as ‘a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition’. The fresco gained notoriety, however, in 2012, when amatuer artist Cecilia Giménez attempted a well-intentioned restoration, resulting in the infamous and much-memed image of ‘Monkey Christ’.

LEFT: Ecce Homo, Elías García Martínez, c.1930 | RIGHT: Monkey Christ, Cecilia Giménez, 2012

As with Love is in the Bin, digital word-of-mouth was central to the image’s popularity, and, in the following year, the botched restoration resulted in a local tourism boom, inspiring 40,000 visits to the church and generating over $50,000 for a local charity. Various articles have treated the transformation as a work of art in its own right. Tabloids are also rife with stories of art being destroyed by overzealous cleaners, such as Damien Hirst’s party remnants-based installation being thrown away in 2001, or Tracey Emin’s My Bed having its sheets tucked in by visiting neat-freaks. These tales are often reported in a smug, sneering, ‘my-five-year-old-could-have-done-that’ attitude - the exact attitude which this artistic movement is pushing back against.

Take the Money and Run, Jens Haaning, 2021

Two more examples from the last twelve months: In September, Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning was provided with 523,000 kroner by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalbor to recreate an earlier piece, made up of banknotes to represent the average yearly income in Denmark. What he delivered, however, was a blank frame, a piece of art he titled Take the Money and Run. While the dispute over who gets to keep the money is ongoing - Haaning claims that “this is only a piece of art if I don’t return the money” - the piece certainly exists in the same tradition of artistically legitimised ‘trash’. Similarly, when pioneer of Queer Cinema and self-proclaimed ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters bequeathed his art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art in November he was offered the opportunity to have a wing of the gallery named after him. Naturally - and in-keeping with his love of ‘trash’ and bad taste - he chose the bathrooms in the building’s East Lobby. While artists such as Warhol aspired to elevate the everyday to the highbrow, Waters has spent his career revelling in ‘low’ culture, celebrating filth, camp and trash.

So what can the phenomenon of ‘trash art’ tell us? Should it be treated as nothing more than a (financially) worthless joke, or with the utmost seriousness? Perhaps, in contrast to the contemporary visual culture so frequently defined by spectacle, it is the fact that these images are so emphatically un-spectacular that appeals to a wider digital audience, with the artworks serving as a joke that the upper echelons of the art world aren’t in on. With Duchamp’s Fountain often cited as one of the most influential pieces of art of the twentieth century, and the fact that its legacy persists to this day, one thing is clear: trash has arrived in the art world, and it’s not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
21/10/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
Where Trash Meets Art
Or, how a mutual love of trash unites Banksy, Duchamp, Monkey Christ and John Waters

On 5th October 2018 at Sotheby’s London, a painting of Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon sold for just over £1 million, a then-record for the artist. Within seconds of the piece’s sale however, and to the astonishment of those in attendance, a mechanism whirred into life, and half of the painting was fed through a shredder embedded in the frame

Fast-forward three years to last week, and the painting, still in its half-shredded state, has been sold for £18.5 million. In a statement following the piece’s near-destruction, Sotheby’s described it as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction”. As Banksy later revealed however, the intervention didn’t go entirely to plan; the mechanism jammed before it could finish and the painting, intended to be entirely shredded, remained in its semi-destroyed state, a state which neither the artist nor the recipient intended. Had the stunt been successful, would the resulting shreds of art have sold as well as it did recently? To what extent did the semi-destruction of the piece increase its value?

Love is in the Bin, Banksy, 2018

The conversations this stunt led to are nothing new of course; the postmodern cultural shift towards conceptualism over aestheticism has been gradual but significant, and Banksy’s painting - now retitled Love is in the Bin - exists within the same artistic tradition as Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. First presented in 1917, Duchamp’s piece perhaps stands out as one of the most provocative artworks of the twentieth century, standing out as an open challenge to the very concept of artistic ‘worth’ and frequently cited as the birth of conceptualism. Crucially, both of these pieces raise questions about who dictates artistic and cultural authority; Fountain plays with the notion that this authority comes from the artist themselves, while Love is in the Bin, both in its intended and eventual part-shredded state, turns the question to the wider art world; that the shredder started up mere seconds after the hammer fell only underscores this.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, 1917

Watching the footage of Banksy’s painting being destroyed, however, an altogether more modern cultural authority becomes apparent; before the gasps of surprise have even dissipated, phones are being raised and cameras flash to capture the event. If - as some have speculated - social media has done anything to democratise the cultural conversation, then its role in creating artistic legitimacy should be considered. It’s here that we can consider the place of Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo. The piece itself is unremarkable; an article in The Guardian describes it as ‘a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition’. The fresco gained notoriety, however, in 2012, when amatuer artist Cecilia Giménez attempted a well-intentioned restoration, resulting in the infamous and much-memed image of ‘Monkey Christ’.

LEFT: Ecce Homo, Elías García Martínez, c.1930 | RIGHT: Monkey Christ, Cecilia Giménez, 2012

As with Love is in the Bin, digital word-of-mouth was central to the image’s popularity, and, in the following year, the botched restoration resulted in a local tourism boom, inspiring 40,000 visits to the church and generating over $50,000 for a local charity. Various articles have treated the transformation as a work of art in its own right. Tabloids are also rife with stories of art being destroyed by overzealous cleaners, such as Damien Hirst’s party remnants-based installation being thrown away in 2001, or Tracey Emin’s My Bed having its sheets tucked in by visiting neat-freaks. These tales are often reported in a smug, sneering, ‘my-five-year-old-could-have-done-that’ attitude - the exact attitude which this artistic movement is pushing back against.

Take the Money and Run, Jens Haaning, 2021

Two more examples from the last twelve months: In September, Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning was provided with 523,000 kroner by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalbor to recreate an earlier piece, made up of banknotes to represent the average yearly income in Denmark. What he delivered, however, was a blank frame, a piece of art he titled Take the Money and Run. While the dispute over who gets to keep the money is ongoing - Haaning claims that “this is only a piece of art if I don’t return the money” - the piece certainly exists in the same tradition of artistically legitimised ‘trash’. Similarly, when pioneer of Queer Cinema and self-proclaimed ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters bequeathed his art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art in November he was offered the opportunity to have a wing of the gallery named after him. Naturally - and in-keeping with his love of ‘trash’ and bad taste - he chose the bathrooms in the building’s East Lobby. While artists such as Warhol aspired to elevate the everyday to the highbrow, Waters has spent his career revelling in ‘low’ culture, celebrating filth, camp and trash.

So what can the phenomenon of ‘trash art’ tell us? Should it be treated as nothing more than a (financially) worthless joke, or with the utmost seriousness? Perhaps, in contrast to the contemporary visual culture so frequently defined by spectacle, it is the fact that these images are so emphatically un-spectacular that appeals to a wider digital audience, with the artworks serving as a joke that the upper echelons of the art world aren’t in on. With Duchamp’s Fountain often cited as one of the most influential pieces of art of the twentieth century, and the fact that its legacy persists to this day, one thing is clear: trash has arrived in the art world, and it’s not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
21/10/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
Where Trash Meets Art
Or, how a mutual love of trash unites Banksy, Duchamp, Monkey Christ and John Waters

On 5th October 2018 at Sotheby’s London, a painting of Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon sold for just over £1 million, a then-record for the artist. Within seconds of the piece’s sale however, and to the astonishment of those in attendance, a mechanism whirred into life, and half of the painting was fed through a shredder embedded in the frame

Fast-forward three years to last week, and the painting, still in its half-shredded state, has been sold for £18.5 million. In a statement following the piece’s near-destruction, Sotheby’s described it as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction”. As Banksy later revealed however, the intervention didn’t go entirely to plan; the mechanism jammed before it could finish and the painting, intended to be entirely shredded, remained in its semi-destroyed state, a state which neither the artist nor the recipient intended. Had the stunt been successful, would the resulting shreds of art have sold as well as it did recently? To what extent did the semi-destruction of the piece increase its value?

Love is in the Bin, Banksy, 2018

The conversations this stunt led to are nothing new of course; the postmodern cultural shift towards conceptualism over aestheticism has been gradual but significant, and Banksy’s painting - now retitled Love is in the Bin - exists within the same artistic tradition as Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. First presented in 1917, Duchamp’s piece perhaps stands out as one of the most provocative artworks of the twentieth century, standing out as an open challenge to the very concept of artistic ‘worth’ and frequently cited as the birth of conceptualism. Crucially, both of these pieces raise questions about who dictates artistic and cultural authority; Fountain plays with the notion that this authority comes from the artist themselves, while Love is in the Bin, both in its intended and eventual part-shredded state, turns the question to the wider art world; that the shredder started up mere seconds after the hammer fell only underscores this.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, 1917

Watching the footage of Banksy’s painting being destroyed, however, an altogether more modern cultural authority becomes apparent; before the gasps of surprise have even dissipated, phones are being raised and cameras flash to capture the event. If - as some have speculated - social media has done anything to democratise the cultural conversation, then its role in creating artistic legitimacy should be considered. It’s here that we can consider the place of Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo. The piece itself is unremarkable; an article in The Guardian describes it as ‘a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition’. The fresco gained notoriety, however, in 2012, when amatuer artist Cecilia Giménez attempted a well-intentioned restoration, resulting in the infamous and much-memed image of ‘Monkey Christ’.

LEFT: Ecce Homo, Elías García Martínez, c.1930 | RIGHT: Monkey Christ, Cecilia Giménez, 2012

As with Love is in the Bin, digital word-of-mouth was central to the image’s popularity, and, in the following year, the botched restoration resulted in a local tourism boom, inspiring 40,000 visits to the church and generating over $50,000 for a local charity. Various articles have treated the transformation as a work of art in its own right. Tabloids are also rife with stories of art being destroyed by overzealous cleaners, such as Damien Hirst’s party remnants-based installation being thrown away in 2001, or Tracey Emin’s My Bed having its sheets tucked in by visiting neat-freaks. These tales are often reported in a smug, sneering, ‘my-five-year-old-could-have-done-that’ attitude - the exact attitude which this artistic movement is pushing back against.

Take the Money and Run, Jens Haaning, 2021

Two more examples from the last twelve months: In September, Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning was provided with 523,000 kroner by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalbor to recreate an earlier piece, made up of banknotes to represent the average yearly income in Denmark. What he delivered, however, was a blank frame, a piece of art he titled Take the Money and Run. While the dispute over who gets to keep the money is ongoing - Haaning claims that “this is only a piece of art if I don’t return the money” - the piece certainly exists in the same tradition of artistically legitimised ‘trash’. Similarly, when pioneer of Queer Cinema and self-proclaimed ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters bequeathed his art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art in November he was offered the opportunity to have a wing of the gallery named after him. Naturally - and in-keeping with his love of ‘trash’ and bad taste - he chose the bathrooms in the building’s East Lobby. While artists such as Warhol aspired to elevate the everyday to the highbrow, Waters has spent his career revelling in ‘low’ culture, celebrating filth, camp and trash.

So what can the phenomenon of ‘trash art’ tell us? Should it be treated as nothing more than a (financially) worthless joke, or with the utmost seriousness? Perhaps, in contrast to the contemporary visual culture so frequently defined by spectacle, it is the fact that these images are so emphatically un-spectacular that appeals to a wider digital audience, with the artworks serving as a joke that the upper echelons of the art world aren’t in on. With Duchamp’s Fountain often cited as one of the most influential pieces of art of the twentieth century, and the fact that its legacy persists to this day, one thing is clear: trash has arrived in the art world, and it’s not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
21/10/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
Where Trash Meets Art
Or, how a mutual love of trash unites Banksy, Duchamp, Monkey Christ and John Waters

On 5th October 2018 at Sotheby’s London, a painting of Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon sold for just over £1 million, a then-record for the artist. Within seconds of the piece’s sale however, and to the astonishment of those in attendance, a mechanism whirred into life, and half of the painting was fed through a shredder embedded in the frame

Fast-forward three years to last week, and the painting, still in its half-shredded state, has been sold for £18.5 million. In a statement following the piece’s near-destruction, Sotheby’s described it as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction”. As Banksy later revealed however, the intervention didn’t go entirely to plan; the mechanism jammed before it could finish and the painting, intended to be entirely shredded, remained in its semi-destroyed state, a state which neither the artist nor the recipient intended. Had the stunt been successful, would the resulting shreds of art have sold as well as it did recently? To what extent did the semi-destruction of the piece increase its value?

Love is in the Bin, Banksy, 2018

The conversations this stunt led to are nothing new of course; the postmodern cultural shift towards conceptualism over aestheticism has been gradual but significant, and Banksy’s painting - now retitled Love is in the Bin - exists within the same artistic tradition as Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. First presented in 1917, Duchamp’s piece perhaps stands out as one of the most provocative artworks of the twentieth century, standing out as an open challenge to the very concept of artistic ‘worth’ and frequently cited as the birth of conceptualism. Crucially, both of these pieces raise questions about who dictates artistic and cultural authority; Fountain plays with the notion that this authority comes from the artist themselves, while Love is in the Bin, both in its intended and eventual part-shredded state, turns the question to the wider art world; that the shredder started up mere seconds after the hammer fell only underscores this.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, 1917

Watching the footage of Banksy’s painting being destroyed, however, an altogether more modern cultural authority becomes apparent; before the gasps of surprise have even dissipated, phones are being raised and cameras flash to capture the event. If - as some have speculated - social media has done anything to democratise the cultural conversation, then its role in creating artistic legitimacy should be considered. It’s here that we can consider the place of Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo. The piece itself is unremarkable; an article in The Guardian describes it as ‘a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition’. The fresco gained notoriety, however, in 2012, when amatuer artist Cecilia Giménez attempted a well-intentioned restoration, resulting in the infamous and much-memed image of ‘Monkey Christ’.

LEFT: Ecce Homo, Elías García Martínez, c.1930 | RIGHT: Monkey Christ, Cecilia Giménez, 2012

As with Love is in the Bin, digital word-of-mouth was central to the image’s popularity, and, in the following year, the botched restoration resulted in a local tourism boom, inspiring 40,000 visits to the church and generating over $50,000 for a local charity. Various articles have treated the transformation as a work of art in its own right. Tabloids are also rife with stories of art being destroyed by overzealous cleaners, such as Damien Hirst’s party remnants-based installation being thrown away in 2001, or Tracey Emin’s My Bed having its sheets tucked in by visiting neat-freaks. These tales are often reported in a smug, sneering, ‘my-five-year-old-could-have-done-that’ attitude - the exact attitude which this artistic movement is pushing back against.

Take the Money and Run, Jens Haaning, 2021

Two more examples from the last twelve months: In September, Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning was provided with 523,000 kroner by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalbor to recreate an earlier piece, made up of banknotes to represent the average yearly income in Denmark. What he delivered, however, was a blank frame, a piece of art he titled Take the Money and Run. While the dispute over who gets to keep the money is ongoing - Haaning claims that “this is only a piece of art if I don’t return the money” - the piece certainly exists in the same tradition of artistically legitimised ‘trash’. Similarly, when pioneer of Queer Cinema and self-proclaimed ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters bequeathed his art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art in November he was offered the opportunity to have a wing of the gallery named after him. Naturally - and in-keeping with his love of ‘trash’ and bad taste - he chose the bathrooms in the building’s East Lobby. While artists such as Warhol aspired to elevate the everyday to the highbrow, Waters has spent his career revelling in ‘low’ culture, celebrating filth, camp and trash.

So what can the phenomenon of ‘trash art’ tell us? Should it be treated as nothing more than a (financially) worthless joke, or with the utmost seriousness? Perhaps, in contrast to the contemporary visual culture so frequently defined by spectacle, it is the fact that these images are so emphatically un-spectacular that appeals to a wider digital audience, with the artworks serving as a joke that the upper echelons of the art world aren’t in on. With Duchamp’s Fountain often cited as one of the most influential pieces of art of the twentieth century, and the fact that its legacy persists to this day, one thing is clear: trash has arrived in the art world, and it’s not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
21/10/2021
Discussions
Adam Wells
Where Trash Meets Art
Or, how a mutual love of trash unites Banksy, Duchamp, Monkey Christ and John Waters

On 5th October 2018 at Sotheby’s London, a painting of Banksy’s famous Girl with Balloon sold for just over £1 million, a then-record for the artist. Within seconds of the piece’s sale however, and to the astonishment of those in attendance, a mechanism whirred into life, and half of the painting was fed through a shredder embedded in the frame

Fast-forward three years to last week, and the painting, still in its half-shredded state, has been sold for £18.5 million. In a statement following the piece’s near-destruction, Sotheby’s described it as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction”. As Banksy later revealed however, the intervention didn’t go entirely to plan; the mechanism jammed before it could finish and the painting, intended to be entirely shredded, remained in its semi-destroyed state, a state which neither the artist nor the recipient intended. Had the stunt been successful, would the resulting shreds of art have sold as well as it did recently? To what extent did the semi-destruction of the piece increase its value?

Love is in the Bin, Banksy, 2018

The conversations this stunt led to are nothing new of course; the postmodern cultural shift towards conceptualism over aestheticism has been gradual but significant, and Banksy’s painting - now retitled Love is in the Bin - exists within the same artistic tradition as Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. First presented in 1917, Duchamp’s piece perhaps stands out as one of the most provocative artworks of the twentieth century, standing out as an open challenge to the very concept of artistic ‘worth’ and frequently cited as the birth of conceptualism. Crucially, both of these pieces raise questions about who dictates artistic and cultural authority; Fountain plays with the notion that this authority comes from the artist themselves, while Love is in the Bin, both in its intended and eventual part-shredded state, turns the question to the wider art world; that the shredder started up mere seconds after the hammer fell only underscores this.

Fountain, Marcel Duchamp, 1917

Watching the footage of Banksy’s painting being destroyed, however, an altogether more modern cultural authority becomes apparent; before the gasps of surprise have even dissipated, phones are being raised and cameras flash to capture the event. If - as some have speculated - social media has done anything to democratise the cultural conversation, then its role in creating artistic legitimacy should be considered. It’s here that we can consider the place of Elías García Martínez’s Ecce Homo. The piece itself is unremarkable; an article in The Guardian describes it as ‘a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition’. The fresco gained notoriety, however, in 2012, when amatuer artist Cecilia Giménez attempted a well-intentioned restoration, resulting in the infamous and much-memed image of ‘Monkey Christ’.

LEFT: Ecce Homo, Elías García Martínez, c.1930 | RIGHT: Monkey Christ, Cecilia Giménez, 2012

As with Love is in the Bin, digital word-of-mouth was central to the image’s popularity, and, in the following year, the botched restoration resulted in a local tourism boom, inspiring 40,000 visits to the church and generating over $50,000 for a local charity. Various articles have treated the transformation as a work of art in its own right. Tabloids are also rife with stories of art being destroyed by overzealous cleaners, such as Damien Hirst’s party remnants-based installation being thrown away in 2001, or Tracey Emin’s My Bed having its sheets tucked in by visiting neat-freaks. These tales are often reported in a smug, sneering, ‘my-five-year-old-could-have-done-that’ attitude - the exact attitude which this artistic movement is pushing back against.

Take the Money and Run, Jens Haaning, 2021

Two more examples from the last twelve months: In September, Danish conceptual artist Jens Haaning was provided with 523,000 kroner by the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalbor to recreate an earlier piece, made up of banknotes to represent the average yearly income in Denmark. What he delivered, however, was a blank frame, a piece of art he titled Take the Money and Run. While the dispute over who gets to keep the money is ongoing - Haaning claims that “this is only a piece of art if I don’t return the money” - the piece certainly exists in the same tradition of artistically legitimised ‘trash’. Similarly, when pioneer of Queer Cinema and self-proclaimed ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters bequeathed his art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art in November he was offered the opportunity to have a wing of the gallery named after him. Naturally - and in-keeping with his love of ‘trash’ and bad taste - he chose the bathrooms in the building’s East Lobby. While artists such as Warhol aspired to elevate the everyday to the highbrow, Waters has spent his career revelling in ‘low’ culture, celebrating filth, camp and trash.

So what can the phenomenon of ‘trash art’ tell us? Should it be treated as nothing more than a (financially) worthless joke, or with the utmost seriousness? Perhaps, in contrast to the contemporary visual culture so frequently defined by spectacle, it is the fact that these images are so emphatically un-spectacular that appeals to a wider digital audience, with the artworks serving as a joke that the upper echelons of the art world aren’t in on. With Duchamp’s Fountain often cited as one of the most influential pieces of art of the twentieth century, and the fact that its legacy persists to this day, one thing is clear: trash has arrived in the art world, and it’s not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
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