[Taking today off. This originally ran last Nov. 4.]

The adage “One man’s modern art is another man’s trash” has been proved in northern Italy. The Museion Bozen-Bolzano museum in the Alto Adige region was proud of its new work depicting the aftermath of a large celebration. It featured spent poppers, confetti, empty champagne bottles and other party equipment. The title was “Where shall we go dancing tonight?”

The overnight cleaning crew didn’t see any artistry and carted everything to the dumpster. (I see some of you are outraged. But more are laughing along with me.) Anyway, the staff retrieved the exhibit and restored it after a three-day absence.

Its creators sounded off to the local paper, shocked and appalled. According to the wire service account from Reuters, museum director Letizia Ragaglia looked on the bright side, saying the incident got people talking about modern art. “It has sparked a great debate … It all goes to show how contemporary art is cable of arousing great interest, or even annoying people. We believe it is essential to keep this dialogue open,” she said in a statement.

Agreed, keep the dialogue open, but leave Joe Sixpack and the rest of the taxpayers out of it. The concept of wealthy people being patrons of the arts has worked well for centuries. (BTW, there is no indication the Italian exhibit was subsidized.)

The subject of government funding for the arts bubbles up regularly from conservative think tanks, which contend it should be eliminated. This orange cat concurs. The New York Post carried a picture of the Italian exhibit with the Reuters story: http://tinyurl.com/oaqdv4t

I found about all this because I follow a fine blog worthy of a bookmark: http://ihatethemedia.com

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