In art school I heard a story about the artist Pablo Picasso. It went like this: at the end of his life he always paid for everything by check. And those checks were hardly ever cashed because he knew that his signature was worth more then that dollar number on the check. (I personally wish my rent checks were considered this valuable and were therefore never cashed.)
This story gets me thinking about what art is and how we value it. Most of us would be heartbroken to throw away artwork (whether it's a painting by your child or a check signed by a master). But that's just what one artist is doing.
I've always considered myself open minded when it comes to modern art, never one to stare down a Pollock and say, "I don't get it." But, a new exhibit at the South London Gallery has me questioning the true cost of art, in this case on the environment.
The artist Michael Landy has an exhibit up right now that will end up adding tons of art to landfills when the show comes down in a few weeks. Landy has called out to artists to take their artwork and throw it in to a huge Plexiglas bin in the gallery. The exhibit questions the concept of the destruction of art.
Michael Landy standing with his art.
This was the pile at the beginning of the exhibit back in late January. The art will continue to pile up.
Art being tossed on the pile.