In an embarrassing and costly blunder, a Japanese tourist placed a highly valued piece of artwork in a gallery rubbish bin after he mistook the work for a discarded sandwich wrapper.
The artwork – an installation simply titled “Wrapper” – was created by respected Sydney artist Hugh McIntire and was being displayed in a gallery in Sydney’s inner-West. McIntire was distraught yesterday, saying an entire year’s work had been wasted.
“I’m offended by the notion that this could be mistaken for a sandwich wrapper,” the artist said. “Yes, the work started out as piece of Glad Wrap, but it had been transformed into a sophisticated commentary on neglect, consumerism, loss and immigration policy.”
Fellow artist Pierce Hiefner agreed the work was special “The piece’s form, it’s texture, the way it had been carefully dropped so as to suggest rejection and abandonment, all of this was the work of a rare talent.”
The Japanese tourist said simply, “I thought it was rubbish”.
McIntire baulked at the idea of getting the Glad Wrap out of the bin and re-instating the work, labelling the suggestion “absurd”.
He now plans to start work on a new installation, set for completion next year.