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ccfinlay

True Story

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Nov. 27th, 2006 | 09:31 pm

So I know this artist, Kim Glover, who had her first gallery show as part of her BFA thesis exhibit this last weekend.

Anyway, and I'm sure I'm mangling this part because, yanno, me and aesthetics, but the main part of her exhibit was an installation about how we walk on eggshells around art. I'm sure it also invoked concepts of fragility and birth and a lot more, but the main thing was eggshells. She collected thousands of eggshells from coffeeshops for a couple weeks, hand bleached them all to be clean and sterile, dusted them with gold for symbolic value, mixed in steel cable for constrast -- again, I'm sure I'm screwing up the description -- but the thing is she covered a thousand square feet of the exhibit floor with these eggshells. She had other work on the walls -- she does very cool photography -- but the main installation, the thing on all the postcards and the flyers, and the main part of her thesis, was the eggshells.

So she finished preparing the installation around 2:30, went out to wash up and grab a quick cup of coffee, and rushed back to the gallery for the show's opening at 5:00.

The eggshells were gone.

The floor was clean.

Spotless.

Kim was standing there with the gallery owner, and the first guests were arriving early, backing up at the door, and Kim's hands were still red and raw from the hours sunk in bleach water, the days scrubbing these eggshells clean without crushing them, and the floor was completely empty and shiny and, well, eggless. The installation gone.

Turns out the cleaning lady popped in to get the gallery ready for the opening, saw the installation, swept it up in a hurry and carried it all out to the dumpster.

Kim still seemed pretty devastated about it when I saw her this afternoon. But she's amazingly talented and has a lot of great art ahead of her. And that story will be the default lead-in on every newspaper and magazine article about her work for the next 40 years. It's the iconic story of modern art.

Somewhere down the road, when you read it again, remember that you read it here first.

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Comments {44}

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HominySnark

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from: hominysnark
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 02:38 am (UTC)
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That's the kind of stuff that sounds made up. Bless her heart, I'd be in jail right now for killin' me some cleaning woman.

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Liz

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from: ammitnox
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 03:13 am (UTC)
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Exactly. There would have been a new exhibit entitled "I choked this bitch."

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rhia_hilldancer

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from: rhia_hilldancer
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 02:47 am (UTC)
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i just don't get how the cleaning lady didn't realize that it was part of the exhibit. i mean, eggshells aren't typically gold-dusted and left on the floor of art galleries, are they?

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 02:51 am (UTC)
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That's what you'd think, wouldn't you? But there's a whole lot of people struggling to get by in the world who think art is only sculptures on pedestals and paintings on walls, even when they moonlight mopping floors in modern galleries.

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Holly Black

(no subject)

from: blackholly
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 03:14 am (UTC)
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I hope that the gallery owner abased him or herself. Seriously.

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C. C. Finlay

(no subject)

from: ccfinlay
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 03:56 am (UTC)
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I have the impression that he did.

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Rae Carson

(no subject)

from: raecarson
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 03:27 am (UTC)
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Wow. That really sucks eggs.

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Mer, rhymes with bear

(no subject)

from: merriehaskell
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 03:40 am (UTC)
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Someone had to say it...

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sallytuppence

(no subject)

from: sallytuppence
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 03:41 am (UTC)
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Oh, ow. Jeez. Definitely some performance art at that point would have been appropriate.

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Marlissa Campbell

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from: plaguedocs
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 04:35 am (UTC)
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Hopefully, someday when she's famous, she'll be able to look back on this setback and laugh. But today, I'm sure it wasn't funny at all. Yes, it could take awhile...

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Patrick Swenson

(no subject)

from: tbclone47
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 05:35 am (UTC)
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Ditto. How could she NOT KNOW?!

OMG, how awful. I don't suppose anyone had a moment to go look for the eggshells in the dumpster? Whether they were possibly recoverable?

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The Pea

and another thing.

from: mekkavandexter
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 04:51 am (UTC)
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it kind of says alot about how we view art.
the other thing is, one of my best friends is named Kim Grover.

weird ;)

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Frigg

(no subject)

from: frigg
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 08:50 am (UTC)
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You know, I've heard of similar things happening. :(

I guess artists need to leave signs up for the cleaning ladies.

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pjthompson

(no subject)

from: pjthompson
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
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I'm just sick on her behalf. OMG.

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dogzilla30

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from: dogzilla30
date: Nov. 28th, 2006 11:26 pm (UTC)
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That's just heartbreaking. And I bet she didn't even get to take any pictures before she left to get changed. Her first gallery show is going to be memorable for so many reasons.

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maggiedr

(no subject)

from: maggiedr
date: Nov. 29th, 2006 03:34 pm (UTC)
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What a great story--so layered with irony. Obviously, the cleaning lady didn't walk on eggshells around art!

When I worked at Borders on the Inventory team, we received a box of romance novels for a signing event. They banged around the stock room for weeks, because there was no place to shelve a large quantity of a single paperback romance. For some reason, the inventory supervisor didn't grasp what they were for, and decided to get rid of them.

Paperback books are stripped of their covers and then destroyed, so one Saturday morning, he ripped the covers off and threw the book bodies into the recycling. And then the author showed up--yes, that very same day, with her loved ones in tow, ready to do her very first signing ever. You can imagine how devastating for her to arrive and find zero books in stock. My manager did jump in his car and drove around collecting the book from other Borders, so it did work out somewhat.

Still, that's not even close to destroying weeks of intensive labor. Although she could have dragged the dumpster inside the gallery as a piece of conceptual art. I hope she took pictures of it? I'm not making light of it, I swear. It's just such a great story...

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barbarienne

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from: barbarienne
date: Nov. 30th, 2006 12:03 am (UTC)
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And in my usual fashion, I have the weird sideways question: I wonder what the cleaning woman thought had happened to put all these gold-dusted eggshells and steel cable on the floor?

And yeah, you're right. That was a pretty suck-ass thing to have happen; otoh, Kim couldn't ask for a better story to promote her work. That needs to go to the news networks and AP and all so they can run it as a fifteen-second human interest story. (Though now that I think of it, some places Faux News might use it as the basis for a "Who do those artsy-fartsies think they're kidding?" kind of thing.)

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