Italian Cleaners Accidentally Throw Away Modern Art

Modern art thrown away by cleaners
A picture of the installation before the cleaners came in. Goldschmied & Chiari via Facebook

Cleaners accidentally cleared away a modern art installation on Saturday morning at a gallery in northern Italy, believing it to be the remnants of a party that took place the evening before, according to local media.

The installation at the Museion modern art gallery in Bolzano comprised of numerous empty bottles, cigarette butts, confetti, streamers and a disco ball as well as items of clothing strewn across the floor. It was the work of Milanese artists Goldschmied & Chiari, who titled it "We were going to dance tonight." It was a satirical work, intended to display the excesses of the Italian political classes during the 1980s.

A post on the gallery's Facebook page showed the result of the clean-up operation along with a sign that has now been fixed to the room that previously contained the exhibition. It reads: "The work will be restored soon."

I precedenti illustri ci sono tutti, dalla vasca di Joseph Beuys alla porta di Duchamp. Questa mattina il personale...

Posted by Museion Bozen-Bolzano on Saturday, 24 October 2015

"Of course we warn staff not to clean away art," gallery curator Letizia Ragaglia told Italian newspaper 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."

Luckily, the cleaners separated the work into bags for glass and plastic in order to recycle it, so the items were not thrown away. Ragaglia said the gallery staff will now attempt to re-assemble the artwork.

It is not the first time that highly valuable art has been thrown out by cleaners. In 2001, a Damien Hirst installation consisting of a collection of beer bottles, coffee cups and ashtrays, was cleared away from an art gallery in London. In 2004, a bag of paper and cardboard by German artist Gustav Metzger was thrown out by cleaners at the Tate Modern, in London.

Last year, a cleaning company in the southern Italian city of Bari had to pay a 10,000 euros- bill (about $11,055 in today's currency) after one of its staff accidentally threw away artwork that included biscuit crumbs, and was part of a modern art exhibition.