Artist Massimo Agostinelli Garbage Bin Statement at Art Basel



Artist Massimo Agostinelli provoked Art Basel viewers into thinking a garbage bin was in fact a work of art being exhibited at the fair by simply writing on it in French with acrylic pen. The bin remained directly in front of the White Cube booth for over an hour before a member of the maintenance crew noticed something was out of place.


The phrase, written by Agostinelli, read ‘La plus belle’ (meaning: ‘The most beautiful’) which is a play on words from the phrase ‘La poubelle’ (meaning: ‘The garbage bin’). Agostinelli was later detained by Police for over two hours but subsequently released with no further action, claiming, “I felt compelled to follow my heart, I wanted to test where one draws line.”


Agostinelli, then attempted to purchase the bin from the fair stating it was of “historic importance” and eventually managed to secure its safe keeping through the support and facilitation of the Nahmad family. Nahmad stated, “This is history in the making and I am happy to be a part of it.”


Furthermore Agostinelli’s New York gallerist Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim of HG Contemporary commented, "Massimo is an incredibly creative artist who regularly pushes the boundaries to illustrate his vision. I appreciate thoughtful and ironic provocation... artfully executed of course."