There are lots of good reasons why they only allow Germany’s Documenta contemporary art show to operate every five years. Right off the top of my head I could think of seventeen at least, but I just don’t have the time to go into detail right now. Let’s just agree to disagree and say that the best reason is the “paradox” it presents in regards to the so-called normal population (whatever that is) of Germany – and the rest of Planet Earth, for that matter. Or as one newspaper aptly put it: The exhibition is an alien phenomenon for much of the local blue-collar population.

And you don’t have to be a local yokel wearing a blue collar to understand what they mean by that, and what an understatement that is. It appears that Kassel municipal street cleaners thought they were just doing their job when they accidentally and quite unceremoniously scraped one artist’s work right off the pavement of the city’s otherwise so clean and thoroughly tidy German streets.

The Chilean artist’s work consisted of white tape stuck to the streets to form crosses. It dated back to an illegal art action in Pinochet’s Chile where hundreds of crosses representing death were created to protest the dictator’s brutality. But the garbage men, being Kunstbanausen (philistines) like the rest of us, thought that the white tape stuck to the streets to form crosses actually represented white tape stuck to the streets to form crosses and so history took it’s improper course and now everybody has hurt feelings.

Calling the removal an act of violence and feeling “completely disregarded”, I can only assume that the artist is now threatening municipal authorities with more crosses and even stickier tape. But let’s face it. There is nothing at all paradoxical about any of this, other than maybe assuming that anyone still having a firm grip on day-to-day German reality could ever be expected to understand any of this highly cultured, refined and thoroughly Kunst-like stuff.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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