Cleaning Lady Tosses Art Worth $13K Because She Thought It Was TrashS

Talk about a lousy day on the job. A cleaning woman in Italy accidentally threw away a valuable piece of art because she mistook it for trash.

According to the New York Post, the mix-up occurred because the art looked like something she needed to clean up:

Lorenzo Roca, head of the cleaning company, said the woman "was just doing her job" when she thought two artworks were part of trash left behind by those setting up for the show that opened Wednesday in Bari. Show organizers said one of the works she gave to a city sanitation crew before dawn included pieces of cookies, which were scattered on the floor, as part of an artistic arrangement.

The art was valued at more than $13,000, and was made by Paul Branca. According to The Mirror, the installation is intended to look like strewn garbage:

The installation at the Sala Murat gallery in Bari, southern Italy, featured works made out of newspaper, cardboard and even biscuit crumbs scattered across the floor. The piece was meant to provoke art lovers to think about landscape and the environment

Roca said he will use his company's insurance to cover the damages.

As The Telegraph points out, it's not the first time modern art has found its way into the trash can:

In 2001 a piece of art by Damien Hirst consisting of an ashtray, dirty coffee cups, empty beer bottles and crumpled newspapers was thrown away by cleaners at a London art gallery. In 1999 Tracey Emin was on the verge of winning the Turner Prize for her conceptual piece "My Bed," when one of the museum's patrons saw the exhibit and, believing that it had been vandalized, straightened it up and made the bed.

And of course, who can forget this recent, albeit more deliberate, example of trashing valuable art.

Image via Shutterstock.