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In February of 2001, a construction crew was called in to repair the decaying stone floor of the sculpture garden at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts. For its protection, workers roped off a nearby bas-relief with the type of red velvet roping you see at theatres and banks, and attached a burlap covering with some handy-dandy duct tape. At some point during the work, a strong gust of wind swept into the garden and dislodged some of the tape, loosening a flap of burlap and exposing a third of the piece.

An executive of the construction company described what his crew heard some patrons saying:

For about half an hour they discussed the deep symbolism and implications of the artist having covered his work in burlap and why he allowed the public only partial access to what was there. They waxed long and hard about the appropriateness of the texture of the burlap in relation to the medium used. And what the use of the velvet meant in juxtaposition to the base of the burlap and duct tape. And the cosmic significance of using degradable materials to hide the true inner beauty.


Source: The July/August 2002 Adbusters, as reported by George Will in the February 5, 2001 edition of Newsweek.

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