Or rather, the British Royal Acadamy's: a true story which illustrates the extent of the intellectual bankruptcy of the contemporary British art world.
Britain's Royal Academy of Art put a block of slate on display, topped by a small piece of wood, in the mistaken belief it was a work of art.
The slate and wooden stick was actually a base meant to hold up a laughing human head made by British sculptor David Hensel.
But when the academy, which has an annual competition for its prestigious summer exhibition, received the work, the head arrived separately.This unintentional experiment puts the lie to all the apologetic nonsense trotted out on behalf of the likes of Tracey Emin, Martin Creed, and company: it's true enough that not everything requiring virtuosity is "great" art, but it's also true that art without skill is an oxymoron, and I dismiss out of hand the ridiculous and often-made assertion that artistic merit is an entirely subjective matter which can be divorced from facts about the human mind. Most of what is called "art" today is anything but, mere garbage palmed off on the gullible and easily intimidated by scam artists whose only gift is for baldly making outrageous claims on their own behalf, and the only reason they're able to get away with it on such a large scale is because so many people are afraid of being labelled "philistines" by snooty urban pseudo-intellectuals and art-school wankers who in the main can't draw well enough to save their very lives.
The academy included the chunk of stone and the small bone-shaped wooden stick in its summer exhibition in London, which showcases the work of emerging artists.
"Given their separate submission, the two parts were judged independently," the academy said in a statement. "The head was rejected. The base was thought to have merit and accepted."
The head, which is carved from jesmonite, took Hensel two months to create. The plinth, cut from an old mortuary slab, took one day.