It was recently reported in The Guardian that the curator of contemporary art at the Manchester Art Gallery removed a true masterpiece of Victorian art – John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs – from the wall in order “to prompt conversations about how we display and interpret artworks in Manchester’s public collection” (they also removed the postcards from their shop).
The real question is, what was the true motivation behind the curator of contemporary removing a 19th century painting? Turns out it was because the removal itself is an artistic act and will feature in a solo show by the artist Sonia Boyce which opens in March.
Today, it always seems to be about generating social media buzz … which they seem to have accomplished.
UPDATE: Yesterday to museum tweeted the following: Well, there’s no denying it’s been an interesting week. We anticipated a heated debate but were amazed by the huge response to the temporary removal of Waterhouse’s Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece. As of this morning this important painting is back on display. Smart move!