Tuesday 4 January 2011

Rubbish or art?

Similar to our report here, a further story from the tail end of 2010, where it was reported that another art installation was mistaken as rubbish and thrown out. Valued at £30,000, Legg-io by Isabella Facco was on display at an open air exhibition in Padua, Italy, when rubbish collectors mistook the work as just that and sent it to be incinerated.
On realising what had happened, the gallery owners are said to have sought to reclaim the work, but were too late. It had already been destroyed.
The important question which this raises – apart from that time old one of 'what is art?' – is who, if anyone, bears the cost? Did the artist have an agreement in place with the gallery to display her works? If so, was there an indemnity clause, promising to indemnify her for any loss and damage to her work? Alternatively, would the artist or the gallery have a cause of action against the rubbish collectors? Or, if they worked for the city of Padua, is there a claim against the city?
There are also issues as to how much loss was suffered. The work was valued at £30,000. Was it insured for this much? Is this figure to be reassessed in light of the fact that the work was mistaken for rubbish?
In any case, the artist has clearly suffered a loss. However, in order to recover something to compensate her for this loss, these are the types of hard questions which need to be answered.
Source: Sunday Mail (Scotland), 19 December 2010

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