Is modern art off its head?



“David Hensel, a sculptor from Sussex, submitted to the Royal Academy summer exhibition a piece that consisted of a large bronze laughing head mounted on a plinth of slate and kept in place by a support shaped like a bone. Pleased to have the piece accepted as item 1201 in the catalogue […] Hensel was dismayed on visiting the show to find that his effort had been decapitated; he was represented in the exhibition by what looked like a dog’s toy on a paving stone. It turned out that the head had become separated from the support during unpacking. […] The sculptor David Mach, a selector for the summer show, was even on record praising the ‘minimalist’ qualities of the bone-on-slab display. And as the faces of traditionalists aped the roaring mouth of Hensel’s missing head they were given even more cause to cackle when it turned out that the bronze bonce had not simply been left behind in a storeroom but had gone before the selectors as a separate art-work and been rejected. Yet another bone thrown to the anti-modernist dogs is the fact that the plinth with the bit on top is now expected to sell for far more than the original price of the whole combination. For the provisional wing of the watercolourists association this will prove that modern Britart combines artistic indiscrimination with financial idiocy.” - story