Cleaners at an Italian modern art museum cleaned up and threw away a new installation thinking it was rubbish – literally. The Museion Bozen-Bolzano, in the province of South Tyrol, apologised after a piece by Goldschmied & Chiari, a female artist duo from Milan, was mistakenly discarded.
"This morning cleaning staff removed the recently inaugurated installation, Dove Andiamo a Ballare Questa Sera?' [Where shall we go dancing tonight?]," the museum wrote on Facebook on 24 October, pledging to restore the piece as soon as possible.
Meant to represent consumerism, hedonism and the blending of revelry and politics of 1980s Italy, the installation depicted the aftermath of a party, with empty champagne bottles, confetti and cigarette stubs scattered all over the floor.
So, when a cleaning lady attended to tidy up the premises, she assumed the items was a pile of rubbish. Gallery curator Letizia Ragaglia said the mistake was partially due to the fact that the employee was new at the museum and thus unfamiliar with its exhibitions.
"It was a big misunderstanding," she told IBTimes UK. Ragaglia said the cleaner was instructed to clean only the foyer where a book signing had been held the previous night.
However, the crowd in attendance proved to be particularly tidy and when she came in the next morning the woman thought the foyer was too immaculate to be the area she had been asked to attend to. Her doubts disappeared as soon as she saw the artwork. She rolled up her sleeves and in a few hours left the room empty and sparkling clean.
Fortunately, the bin bags had not yet been collected when the error was discovered. Museum staff are currently working to put the piece back as it was. Their task was also made easier by the cleaner's meticulousness, as she had separated glass from plastic and paper, according to local recycling rules.
Relieved that their work was going to be restored, Goldschmied & Chiari brushed off the incident with a smile. "It takes more than a broom to wipe out a decade of Italian history and declare an artwork rubbish!" they told IBTimes UK.