Plinth for Plinth’s sake

by John Q on June 17, 2006

When I was first told by my wife about this story, I expected it would turn out to be an Internet factoid, probably much-circulated, melding the old stories of paintings hung upside down, works painted by ducks and hailed as masterpieces, and so on. But the Independent’s account gives chapter and verse. The Royal Academy, having received a sculpture by one David Hensel with the plinth packed separately, decided to reject the sculpture and exhibit the plinth.



blah 06.17.06 at 6:29 pm

You have to admit, it is a fine plinth.

See picture of plinth and sculpture here:


bad Jim 06.18.06 at 2:24 am

Contemporary art is increasingly problematic. As it deepens, widens and lengthens our perspective, it blurs our judgment. The skills I’ve learned touring museums around the world are counterproductive when I tour the galleries in my home town. When I recognize Corot, zum Beispiel, I’m infallibly wrong. It’s just another local, and he or she has most likely has dozens just like it. (And at this point we’ve got more paintings than walls, so no, we’re not buying tonight.)

Still, we keep looking. Just because we might do something foolish is a poor reason not to keep looking for something really enjoyable.


JR 06.18.06 at 10:37 am

This is an Alan Sokal-Social Text moment, there being two significant differences: (1) the Royal Academy managed to hoax itself; and (2) unlike the marginal academics who edit Social Text, these executive officers of the art world control substantial public resources and claim the authority to manage an extremely important part of human culture.

Of course this is funny. But it is also revolting. These people are frauds. It is no pleasure to conclude that the Philistines are right.


Rrose Sélavy 06.18.06 at 11:39 am

Maybe the plinth was more interesting.


shane h 06.18.06 at 5:47 pm

Thanks for the link #1. There I was, about to buy the article for £1. Or perhaps go out and spend it on a whole newspaper.


winna 06.18.06 at 8:53 pm

In the picture I think the plinth is more interesting. The sculpture itself looks like something from an art class project.


R. Mutt 06.18.06 at 8:56 pm

Maybe this can spark a whole new movement in contemporary art: instead of actually spending all that time doing “art”, artists can just send in the plinths, or the wrappings, or the shipping crates – and save time!
The interesting bit that made ME wonder, though: if Mr. Hensel hadn’t pointed the absence of his sculpture: how long would the plinth have remained on exhibition before any noticed?
After it won an award?


Rrose Sélavy 06.18.06 at 10:55 pm

I’m surprised that my brother (mon semblob) r. would ask such a question.


r. mutt 06.20.06 at 12:44 pm

It’s an ironic joke, rrose.

(or am I talking to myself here??)

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