Saturday, April 18, 2009

An Artwork Thought to Have Merit

Thought to Have Merit
06/20/06 - WSJ OpinionJournal by Lionel Shriver

An English sculptor loses his head.

[edited] "Exhibit 1201" is a large rectangular tablet of slate with a tiny barbell-shaped bit of boxwood on top. David Hensel created and submitted it to this year's summer show at London's Royal Academy of Arts. He must be pleased to have been selected from among some 9,000 applicants for the world's largest open-submission exhibit of contemporary art.

Nevertheless, he was bemused to discover that his sculpture had separated from its base in transit. Judging the two components as separate submissions, the Royal Academy had rejected his artwork proper, a finely wrought laughing head in jesmonite. Instead, they selected the support plinth, the bit of boxwood. Mr. Hensel: "It says something about the state of visual arts today." He didn't say what. He didn't need to.

A "support plinth" is a short piece of wood for supporting the sculpture from the back. This one was quite nice, in its own way. See the picture at the above link.

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