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Court Knows What It Likes in Art, & It’s Not Rancid Butter

November 21, 1988

DUESSELDORF, West Germany (AP) _ A five-pound sculpture made out of butter that has gone rancid is not art, a court ruled Monday.

The court rejected a claim for $29,000 filed by Johannes Stuettgen, who alleged that the work titled ″Corner of Fat″ by his teacher, Joseph Beuys, was ruined when it was dropped by a cleaning crew at the state Academy of Art in Duesseldorf.

The crew was cleaning up Beuys’ studio after he died in 1986.

Stuettgen said Beuys had given him the sculpture when they worked on it together in 1982.

″This object of rancid butter was for laymen not recognizable as artwork,″ the state civil claims court for North Rhine-Westphalia said in explaining its rejection of Stuettgen’s claim.

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