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Pineapple Displays "Plodding Banality" of Conceptual Art



(p. A4) LONDON -- How did a pineapple become a postmodern masterpiece?

The aesthetic merits of tropical fruit inadvertently entered Britain's national cultural conversation after two students jokingly placed a store-bought pineapple on an empty table at an art exhibition this month at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, a port city in northeastern Scotland.

When they returned a few days later to the exhibition -- part of the Look Again festival, which aims to highlight Aberdeen's cultural heritage -- they were shocked to discover their pineapple protected by a glass display case, instantly and mysteriously transformed into a work of art.

After one of the students, Lloyd Jack, 22, who studies business, put a photograph of the pineapple on Twitter, along with the words, "I made art," the image was shared widely on social media, turning the fruit, fairly or not, into a cultural sensation. To some, though, the stunt was a self-promoting social media prank befitting the digital age.

Mr. Jack's post received nearly 5,000 likes on Twitter. Before long, the work, which the two students titled "Pineapple," had been deconstructed on art blogs and social media worldwide; parsed in Paris, Texas and Tokyo; and even featured on Canadian television. Some on Twitter lauded its "genius," while others ridiculed it as the latest example of conceptual art's plodding banality.


. . .


Others saw hidden meaning in the pineapple, including an art professor at the university who, Mr. Gray said, enthusiastically lauded the "purposeful way" in which the display case had pressed down on the fruit's leaves.

"It just goes to show the ludicrousness of conceptual art and how anything can become art," Mr. Jack said.


. . .


Peter York, an author and cultural commentator, noted that the pineapple display, consciously or not, wittily reflected Duchamp's notion that if you declare something art, it becomes art.

"I rank pineapples quite highly as they are quite decorative objects, sort of colonial superfruits, with leaves that look like green fountains at the top," he said. "But you wouldn't really want a pineapple exhibited in your home."



For the full story, see:

DAN BILEFSKY. "Scots Plumb a Pineapple's Hidden Meaning After it Becomes Accidental Art." The New York Times (Fri., MAY 12, 2017): A4.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date MAY 11, 2017, and has the title "How a Humble Pineapple Became Art.")






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