Friday, September 25, 2015

Gormley Garbage

There's a time and a place for public art.
The post-earthquake recovery period is not the time.
The middle of the Avon River is not the place.
Self-indulgent art excesses have faced public flak in Christchurch before (remember "Fanfare" and "BeBop"?)! Now it seems the city is getting not one but two (TWO!) sculptures by UK sculptor Sir Antony Gormley.
The city's public art advisory group has contributed over $500K to the project. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has helped fund it, but won't say by how much. However Christie's Auction House of London lists a similar sculpture as selling in 2014 for over US$2 million!
This is how the sculpture, called "Stay", will look, standing mid-stream in the Avon in central Chch.
A survey polled residents for their views. People queried why they didn't use a NZ artist's work. There was annoyance at both the cost, and that the money was going offshore:
+ "I think there are still so many people hurting that the money could be used towards."
+ "There are so many other things around Christchurch, to my way of thinking, that could be done, quake repairs and the roading. Some of the roads are shocking."
+ "I don't think we need a man standing in the middle of the river."
A man? Someone thought it resembled a big poo!
Gormley's sculptures are no strangers to the befouling of natural beauty. He has half a dozen dotted around the English countryside. Yet just a week ago, a life-sized cast-iron Gormley sculpture, standing on rocks at a Dorset beauty spot, toppled over into the water after a storm.
I trust that, if this irresponsible expenditure DOES go ahead (contrary to public opinion), this "pile of poo" will last a bit better than that!

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