LONDON (Reuters) - One of Britain's most prestigious art galleries put a block of slate on display, topped by a small piece of wood, in the mistaken belief it was a work of art.
The Royal Academy included the chunk of stone and the small bone-shaped wooden stick in its summer exhibition in London.
But the slate was actually a plinth -- a slab on which a pedestal is placed -- and the stick was designed to prop up a sculpture. The sculpture itself -- of a human head -- was nowhere to be seen.
"I think the things got separated in the selection process and the selectors presented the plinth as a complete sculpture," the work's artist David Hensel told BBC radio.
The academy explained the error by saying the plinth and the head were sent to the exhibitors separately.
"Given their separate submission, the two parts were judged independently," it said in a statement. "The head was rejected. The base was thought to have merit and accepted.
"The head has been safely stored ready to be collected by the artist," it added. "It is accepted that works may not be displayed in the way that the artist might have intended."
I like the explanation at the end - "We thought the display pieces made better art so we showed them instead." Uhhh.... yeah. A piece of stone and a piece of wood - that's art.
I have as much culture as the next dish of yogurt, but I've gotta tell you - it's high time we stopped this ridiculous fascination with random lines, odd bits and general junk slapped together and called art. When a "prestigious" art gallery in Jolly Olde England can't tell the difference between an easel and the art it's supposed to be supporting, maybe that should tell them that it's not really art.
You want to talk Michelangelo - fine. Great artist. Botticelli - you bet. Wonderful work. But when you slap something together that my three-year-old could do and call it "fine art" or "an important piece" or even simply "art," then we need to redefine what "art" is.
Like Tom Hanks' character said in A League of Their Own:
It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great.
If everyone can do it, it's most likely not art. This gaffe just goes to show how out of touch today's art world is with the true idea of art.