Believing a Goldschmied & Chiari installation was the aftermath of a wild night of Italian partying, cleaners bagged up the work and threw it away. The installation Where Are We Going to Dance Tonight? featured a few hundred empty champagne bottles, used-up party poppers, and cigarette butts, and was being exhibited at the Museion Bozen-Bolzano in South Tyrol, Italy.
The piece was intended to evoke the Italian party scene of the 1980s, "a period characterized by consumerism, hedonism, by socialist politicians and their never ending parties." That era is brought to an artistic end with Goldschmied & Chiari's installation.
"There are also many people who thought that we did it on purpose," said museum head Letizia Ragaglia, "but it's not true. It happened, and at the very first moment we were kind of terrified. And then we realized that it was good for us."
The blunder has been incredible publicity for both the museum and the Milan-based artists whose piece was taken for garbage—not the most flattering commentary. Goldschmied & Chiari expressed serious outrage at the situation: "It cannot be possible for an installation to end up in the rubbish bin."
Apparently it is not only possible, but also shockingly common. The duo joins Marcel Duchamp, Damien Hirst and Jim Osman in having their works inadvertently and unceremoniously disposed of. Fortunately, the work has been restored, but not after sparking international debate over the eternal question "what is art, anyway?" The exhibition will continue at the Museion until 22 November 2015.
Sometimes, art can be just a little too convincing.