An art installation of empty champagne bottles, spent confetti and torn party signage at the Museion Bozen-Bolzano in Italy was mistaken for actual garbage by cleaning staff over the weekend, who swept it up and put it in the garbage, Reuters reports.

Apparently, the installation “Where shall we go dancing tonight?” alluded to the conspicuous consumption of the 1980s. Cleaners thought that the art, which looked like garbage, was actually garbage, and so they cleaned it up. Three days later, the garbage installation was been recovered and reconstituted—it reopened on Tuesday.

“It has sparked a great debate,” museum director Letizia Ragaglia said in a statement. “It all goes to show how contemporary art is capable of arousing great interest, or even annoying people. We believe it is essential to keep this dialogue open.”

The artists, Sara Goldschmied and Eleonora Chiari, were not so pleased. The newspaper Alto Adige quoted them as saying, “What happened was bad. It cannot be possible for an installation to end up in the rubbish bin.” And yet!

You would think conceptual artists would appreciate their work passing from concept into actuality, but then again maybe irony really is dead and we all have to be very self-serious again now.

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