telling art from a hole in the ground

this tale is better told in reverse.

what the following bodes for the survival of Western Civilization, I cannot say, well or ill. But understand that we have entered an era in which holes in the ground are understood to be artistic installations rather than holes in the ground, as a matter of first assumption:

“We saw the first poor victim, a young woman who went into it with both feet up to just below her knees. She had to be dragged out by her friends,” said one onlooker.

“Unbelievably, as we watched to see whether she was OK, an older woman deliberately stepped on it (she later told us, amazingly, that she thought the crack was painted on the floor) lurched forward and landed on the ground. She had a sore wrist to show for it.”

Except, of course, that the hole in the ground WAS an artistic installation:

Doris Salcedo, the artist responsible for the latest Tate Modern Turbine hall commission, has said she wants visitors to look down when they encounter her work and engage in quiet contemplation – rather than be sidetracked by the space’s spectacular architecture.

Some, however, have failed to look down carefully enough.

The work – a long, sometimes foot-wide fissure that runs the entire length of the hall – was unveiled at a private view on Monday night, when someone fell into what is becoming known as “Doris’s crack” (its official title is Shibboleth).

The Guardian and Art News blog have more to say about the shibboleth of artists cracking holes in the ground and calling it art. I find the title, Shibboleth, to be oddly appropriate.

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