Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
Artworks, beware! Last week, a visitor to the Yves Klein exhibition at the BOZAR in Brussels was paying such close attention – to the surrounding exhibits – that they accidentally trod on an iteration of the artist’s Dry Blue Pigment. The work in question consists of a wooden frame placed on the floor and filled with sand dyed in Klein’s signature International Klein Blue. The blue sand was scattered across the gallery floor and one bemused visitor captured the scene for posterity…
Fortunately for all involved, the work uses new pigment and sand every time it is displayed and the museum conservators were able to repair it before the day was out. ‘It’s not the same as damage to a “unique piece”,’ a spokeswoman for BOZAR told the Art Newspaper.
No such luck for a unique piece of heritage at Prittlewell Priory in Essex, where an 800-year-old sandstone coffin was knocked off its stand and broken earlier this month. The coffin, which was discovered in the grounds of the priory in 1921, is thought to be the last surviving example of its kind. The Guardian reports that the accident occurred after tourists used it as a prop for a bizarre photo shoot – and left without telling staff about the damage. The culprits were caught on CCTV, bending over the security barriers to lower a small child into the casket. As the conservator responsible for repairing the sarcophagus says: ‘You can put all the risk assessments in place but you really don’t expect people to try to get into the artefacts.’