An Australian artist’s work depicting a pickle from a McDonald’s cheeseburger stuck to a ceiling has raised the age-old question: what is art?
It features a small piece of pickle on a pristine white ceiling as part of the exhibition of modern abstract works on view until July 30.
Ryan Moore, Sydney’s director of fine arts, said the Pickle exhibition will mean different things to different people, “but that’s the point”.
“People don’t have to think it’s art if they don’t want to,” Mr. Moore said.
“Everything can be a work of art, but not everything. That’s often the point.”
Griffin’s work is known for ‘[combining] an ironic humor with a DIY sensibility in his sculptures, photographs, videos and installations,” notes the Museum of Contemporary Art.
“His playful approach, which often mixes references from high and popular culture, conceals a harsh critique of truth, authenticity and the construction of images in a digital age.”
“Meaning and value are things that we as human beings create together – in art or in any other part of life,” added Mr. Moore.
“What constitutes a work of art is when everything an artist makes or does can be used as art: when the object or action is thought of or spoken about as a work of art. And that’s what we’re doing here, which I think is great.”
A picture of the work shared on Instagram received a mostly positive response.
“I can taste this photo,” one person commented.
“Perfection,” another person rated the work.
“Love it,” wrote a third.
Griffin described his work on his Instagram as “a sculpture made up of a McDonald’s cheeseburger pickle being slung toward the ceiling.”
One of Griffin’s earlier works, Anywhere But Here, showed an old plastic chair – similar to those you see in a school classroom – balanced precariously on top of a ceramic dolphin, topped by a balloon blown by a hair dryer with the words ” was blown. everywhere but here’ written on it.
Another of his works, Aske, was an interactive piece that MCA said “responds to human presence with unexpected and alarming actions.”
It consisted of a cardboard cylinder with a picture of a face with the eyes cut out. When a spectator approached, ping-pong balls shot out of the empty eye sockets.
This was done by a motion sensor connected to a hair dryer that sent the ping pong balls up.
Other abstract works currently on view at the MCA in Sydney are by Juliette Blightman, Prudence Flint and Yona Lee.
Flint’s work entitled “Banana” is a stencil on a sheet of paper depicting a lady sitting down and eating a banana.
Juliette Blightman’s work Pseudopanax, on the other hand, features a 60-minute audio loop played through a small speaker, starting on the hour, next to a potted plant.
While it may be debatable whether a piece of cucumber stuck to a ceiling is actually “art,” modern abstract works in various forms can attract serious money among collectors.
In 2021, for example, a digital artwork that only exists as a JPG file sold for $69.3 million after listing for just $100 – making its US creator Beeple the third most valuable living artist behind Jeff Koons and David Hockney makes.
Artist Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” became the most expensive “non-fungible token” ever after auctioning for a record $69.3 million and fetching more than physical works by many better-known artists
Another sale in 2021 was of an invisible sculpture, which fetched more than $22,000.
Sardinian-born Salvatore Garau, 67, sold the artwork, titled “I am,” to an unknown buyer earlier this month (pictured, Garau in 2016).
Sardinian-born Salvatore Garau, 67, sold the artwork, titled ‘I am’, to an unknown buyer and presented him with a certificate of authenticity to prove it was genuine.
How much money Griffin’s Pickle would attract remains an open question, especially since most people can easily recreate it at their nearest fast food joint.