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Italian cleaners bin ‘rubbish’ modern art

Cleaning staff at the Museion modern art gallery in Bolzano have landed themselves in hot water after mistakenly sweeping up a modern art exhibit they thought was the remnants of the previous night's party.

Italian cleaners bin 'rubbish' modern art
Cleaners at the Museion modern art gallery in Bolzano accidently cleaned away an installation thinking it was rubbish. Photo: Luke Stearns/Flickr

On Friday night, there was a gathering at the gallery and on Saturday morning the cleaning team got to work.

On arrival, they found empty bottles strewn across the floor, cigarette buts, confetti and even shoes and clothes. It looked like it had been quite a night, but the cleaning staff were unfazed and set about restoring order.

However, these were not the remnants of the previous night's party but an art exhibition called 'We were going to dance tonight' by Milanese artists Goldschmied & Chiari.

The artistic installment was aimed at satirizing the lavish parties and excesses of the Italian political classes during the 1980s. Yet, clearly it was a case of art imitating life a bit too convincingly.

“Of course we warn staff not to clean away art,” gallery curator Letizia Ragaglia told Alto Adige. “ We told them just to clean the foyer because that's where the event on Friday night had been. Evidently, they mistook the installation for the foyer…”

Fortunately, all was not lost. After organizing the 'rubbish' art into separate bin bags for glass and plastic, the cleaners realized their error before they threw out the artworks for good.

“We will try to put it back as it was, using photos to help us,” Ragaglia said.

This is by far not the first time a modern art installation has been mistaken for rubbish.

Last year, a cleaner at an art gallery in Bari threw away a piece containing old biscuit crumbs that was worth €10,000.

It's not just an Italian problem either. A Damien Hirst collection of beer bottles, coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays was thrown out of an exhibition in London in 2001, while in 2004 a bag of paper and cardboard by German artist Gustav Metzger was cleared away at the Tate Britain. 

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TOURISM

The new guide to Florence’s Uffizi Galleries – showing only the nudes

There are lots of guides to the visual splendours of Florence's world-famous galleries - but for those with a short attention span comes a new one, showing only nude or erotic artworks.

The new guide to Florence's Uffizi Galleries - showing only the nudes
Sandro Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" is the most famous work included in a controversial new guide to the Uffizi Galleries. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The online guide to the gallieries is produced by the porn website Pornhub and provide a list of the best erotic artworks in each museum, plus directions of how to get there – so you don’t need to waste your time looking at paintings of people in clothes.

Part of the site’s Classic Nudes series of ‘erotic’ guides to some of the world’s most renowned museums, the guide for the Uffizi lists 21 artworks, together with a tongue-in-cheek commentary, and the location of each piece within the galleries.

“The Uffizi Gallery is located in the birthplace of the Renaissance: Florence, Italy. So it’s no wonder it has such a large collection of artwork from the era. But what you may find surprising is the sheer volume and variety of naked bodies rendered in paint, bronze and marble in this marvelous museum,” writes Pornhub.

Among the works featured are Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1485) and the Roman statue of the Knidian Aphrodite, dating from the 1st Century.

The guide also includes the Venus of Urbino by Titian (1538), which it calls “kinky”, and Painting and Poetry by Francesco Furini (1626), which is described as featuring “two ridiculously hot babes who just so happen to be making out”.

Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Bosses at the Uffizi were not amused at the gallery’s inclusion in Pornhub’s series and have threatened to sue.

Meanwhile in Paris, the Louvre’s management has said only that it is ‘dismayed’, while the Musée d’Orsay remained silent on the subject.

As is hopefully clear, the Pornhub guides are explicit in nature and not suitable for children.

The Uffizi does, however, provide a great day out for all the family and contains a lot of fully-clothed artwork too. At present it is operating with reduced visitor numbers due to health rules, so advance booking to recommended.

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