An outbreak of diaorrhea and vomiting at a house frequented by eminent artists has caused a financial crisis at The Arts Council.
“Initially we were very excited”, said a spokesman. “I mean, Tracey Emin vomiting on a copy of the Daily Mail! Exquisite. And then Damian Hirst took a dump, which we immediately valued at £1 million. If they’d stopped there, we’d have been okay.
“But they all went down with the virus, and soon we had more priceless turds and ironic stools than we could cope with. And it isn’t the easiest collection to curate, I can tell you”.
Art experts are divided on whether the samples of poo and vomit need to be preserved – possibly encased in plastic - or whether a floor of the Tate Modern should simply be covered in the body matter and allowed to rot, as a commentary on the ephemeral nature of life.
“Tracey’s such a perfectionist. She wouldn’t let us have any of her shit until she was starting to recover, and there was just enough firmness there to allow her to shape it as she squeezed it out. I was there, it was an experience I’ll never forget. This piece really came from within Tracey – I’d say the £30 million we paid for it was a bargain.
Critics have questioned the validity of Damian Hirst’s contributions, which were outsourced to a group of vomiting Italian artists working to his specification. “Oh, but the work is still a Damian Hirst. When I watch a Shakespeare play it’s still by Shakespeare, even though he’s been dead for centuries. Anything Damian touches – or even doesn’t touch – is automatically worth millions. Those pieces of sweetcorn might not have passed through his own body, but they were his inspiration. Such bold use of colour.
The major concerns are financial.
“Thanks to our Tory overlords, we’ve had to cancel some really exciting projects – a room filled with helium, a celebration of cancer through the medium of sponge cake, and a Paedophile in Residence, helping young people to explore sexual identity. It’s a tragedy. There’s always enough money for a nuclear bomber or a torture wing at Guantanamo Bay, but ask for a few hundred million to invest in the arts and you might as well be shouting into a volcano. Which is another project we’ve had to cancel, actually. Apparently it was ‘too expensive’ to dismantle Mount Etna and recreate it in London. Philistines”.