“We were promised more than this trivia, but they lied to us.”
That was The Jackdaw’s verdict on the Arts Council’s assurances there would be a lasting legacy from the Cultural Olympiad.
The same statement applies equally to all of the State sponsored public art which has been erected, often in very prominent and unavoidable locations, over the past 20 or 30 years. The regular nonsense stuck up onto the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square is a good example of it.
Or the ridiculous and ugly thing foisted onto the unfortunate inhabitants of Ilfracombe.
Or the ‘Angel’ in Gateshead which looks to be based on a Spanish Civil War propaganda poster.
I have previously pointed out the credibility gap between an original idea, with all its beautiful drawings and illustrations as well as the flowery prose and fine words used to ‘sell’ that idea, and the reality that is the finished project as, for example, the earth-sculpture known as Northumberlandia
Another good example of ‘what a good idea’ compared to the reality of the finished project is the Blue Carpet by Thomas Heatherwick.
And the reality is a mess; badly executed when it was laid down and with the blue rapidly fading to grey. Not that it was really noticeably blue in the first place. A bit of sunshine would have helped; does nobody look at weather forecasts or think about whether it complements and suits the local climate?
And at £1.6 million for this rubbish does nobody in the Arts Council actually think at all?
In fact, this whole State sponsored Public Art thing is a wonderful scam. That’s where your Lottery money goes. And just look at the public’s reaction to it; 19 reviews here and 10 say it is terrible!
At least there are some people getting something from it!
What sparked this latest exasperated rant about the state of State Art was that last week I was walking across the ‘carpet’ heading for the Laing Art Gallery in the company of our good friend Cherry Pie and her husband.
We were talking about the carpet and I was explaining how the blue colour had virtually disappeared to a dull grey. Something made obvious by the contrast between the old tiles and the new replacement tiles.
And then Mr C, with a twinkle in his eye, said “it’s obvious that the pavement is just nourishing obscurity!”
I thought “eh?”
So he turned and pointed to the street sign.
The penny dropped! And, sorry James, but I couldn’t stop laughing
Wonderful association of ideas by Mr C. Tip of the hat to you sir!
So James, you will be pleased to know that you have had a subliminal and effective influence in ridding the world of daft arty-farty ‘art installations’.
Here is a suitably pretentious and appropriate homage to little Tommy’s daft idea