Friday

Rotting Cow Art

The Telegraph reports that Damien Hirst's controversial art work of a cow preserved in formaldehyde has caused a headache for staff at a Tokyo art museum because of Japan's strict import ban on British beef. Hirst's Mother and Child, Divided, consisting of a cow and a calf each sliced in half, is part of a retrospective of Britain's controversial Turner Art Prize at The Mori Arts Museum. Due to Japan's ban on British beef after the mad cow disease outbreak, the museums' representatives had to convince customs officials that the cow was indeed art, and not dinner. "I think my staff explained that it's not for eating," Fumio Nanjo, Director of the Mori Art Museum, said. However, once the cow had cleared customs, the problems didn't end there. The orginal cow and calf - which won the 1995 Turner art prize - had started to rot, so the museum has had to replace them with a new and improved version that is usually displayed at the Astrup Fearnly Museum in Oslo. "The original cow was decaying very fast. This is the second version," Nanjo said. Furthermore, for their trip to Japan, the carcasses had to be taken out of their original formaldehyde solution, and will be re-pickled for the Tokyo exhibition. Fearing that formaldehyde fumes could poison staff as the liquid is poured into the cow's glass case, the museum has pledged to install a ventilation system. This will involve major construction work, including drilling a new shaft through the ceiling. It isn't the first time Hirst's penchant for picked animals have caused a stir. In 2006, Hirst had to replace his pickled shark, titled "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living", with a new one after the original had begun to rot. Nanjo however, seemed unperturbed by the bureaucratic hic-cups. "This is a major work for the art show. So we cannot give up," he said. History in the Making: A Retrospective of the Turner Prize, at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo's Roppongi neighbourhood, will run from April 25 to July 13. (For full source and full article click the Headline). Irish Art