A German Janitor Strikes Again – This time throwing away student art

In Germany, the general population likes to keep things clean which is why you will see signs in the Deutsche Museum asking people not to clean the artefacts.  This need to clean means that sometimes in an effort to keep Germany clean, the cleaners step over the line and destroy pieces of art.

This week In Dusseldorf, a janitor removed student artwork from the building and threw it in a dumpster. Unlike the Italian janitor who mistook a piece of art by Paul Branca for garbage,

Cleaning lady threw out the trash but it wasn’t trash… it was contemporary art.

or the German cleaning lady who decided to scrub clean a piece of art by Martin Kippenberger,

German Cleaning Lady removed a “stain” on this contemporary art piece by Martin Kippenberger

the janitor at the Dusseldorf art school was told to take the pieces out of the building. The school asked students to remove the artwork from the building because it was causing a fire hazard.  After the warning, the janitor removed the remaining pieces and threw them in the dumpster.

According to the school it was a miscommunication between the school and the janitor. The artwork should have been left in the courtyard for pickup not mangled and thrown into the dumpster.

Mangled art at the Dusseldorf School of Art

Although German janitors may take cleaning to the extreme, paintings do catch on fire and burn down buildings.

Glaskow School of Art - Fire damage of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh masterpiece.
Glaskow School of Art – Fire damage of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh masterpiece.

The lessons learned for showing art in Germany:

  • Make sure your artwork is properly labeled.
  • Put up a sign asking people not to clean your art piece.
  • Don’t leave your artwork in the hallway of any buildings.
  • Get insurance on your artwork if you are selling it to make a living. (You need receipts showing at least three sales to get your work insured.)
  • Be nice to the janitor.


[yellow trashcan used with cc permission from Jes

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