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Berlin Metro’s Plan to Drive Away Homeless With Atonal Music Met With Avant-Garde Protest

Mother and daughter topple playground art; and Mr Brexit fails to sell at Royal Academy: all the latest in art world madness

Berlin subway, 2016. Courtesy: Flickr, Creative Commons; photograph: micagoto

Berlin subway, 2016. Courtesy: Flickr, Creative Commons; photograph: micagoto

Berlin subway, 2016. Courtesy: Flickr, Creative Commons; photograph: micagoto

A Berlin subway station’s plan to deter drug users and homeless people, by playing them atonal music, has proved somewhat short-lived. Hermannstrasse station, situated in the German capital’s Neukölln neighbourhood, proposed piping in atonal tunes (presumably a healthy smattering of Schoenberg and Webern classics) because, according to their spokesperson, ‘few people find it beautiful – many people perceive it as something to run away from.’ The proposal soon provoked a musical protest titled ‘Atonale Musik für Alle’ (Atonal Music for All), with musicians performing a recital of the African-American minimalist composer Julius Eastman (who died homeless and a drug addict in 1990) outside the station. The train operator soon announced it would be pulling its plans.

In the latest art gallery disaster, a mother and her teenage daughter have managed to destroy a sculpture, 10 minutes into an exhibition’s opening. Sean Matthews’s show ‘Recycled Play’ at the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg, transforms children’s toys – his artwork, Fair and Square, includes a life-sized swing resembling the scales of justice. Havoc ensued when they were mistaken for actual playthings, and the artwork predictably collapsed into a pile of rubble. The artist decided to replace it with a memorial comprised of steel fencing, a photo of the original piece, and a variety of stuffed animals.

And in a snub to Mr Brexit, a portrait of Nigel Farage at the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition – priced at GBP£25,000 – has failed to attract a single buyer. The painting by David Griffiths shows the former UKIP leader complete with his signature tan coat, purple stripe tie, and smirk. Grayson Perry, who curated this year’s show, had juxtaposed with the Farage portrait with a painting of a penis, and someone vomiting into a bucket. The artist put on a brave face, telling The Sun: ‘It would certainly be gratifying if Nigel’s portrait were to find a good home’. Don’t rush all at once.

In the Name of Art is our semi-regular compendium of (almost) unbelievable art world stories. Send your worst to digitaleditors@frieze.com

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