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Public Art Is Notorious For Having Its Many Objectors: Antony Gormley’s Public Piece “Attacked” Again

September 18, 2009

Maybe it’s deserved, but it’s still too bad that Antony Gormley is getting a lot of flack for his recent public piece, as he is/was one of my most favorite sculptors. Not having seen the work discussed here, but merely reading reviews and looking at different images of it, I have to say that I am a little disappointed in Mr. Gormley based on his heretofore amazing body of work. 

Fourth plinth: a monument to bad art

Antony Gormley’s ‘plinth people’ don’t stand up for democracy, they just stand there – and they look stupid

One and Other project

Living statues? No thanks … A man stands on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

The current issue of the magazine Art Monthly has an editorial about Antony Gormley‘s fourth plinth artwork. Pointing out the difficulty of actually making out what’s going on up on the lofty plinth when you stand in Trafalgar Square, it wonders who this participatory experience is actually for – the volunteers themselves? The audience of Sky Arts? Tourists? The internet? It concludes that “the whole project is just another example of the kind of risk-free, health-and-safety approved, highly administered experience that constitutes most public art today”.

Champions of One and Other in the national press have been quite aggressive in asserting that if you don’t like it, you must be some stuck-in-the-mud conservative with a shotgun by the bed and an illicit pack of foxhounds in the garage. It’s claimed by fans such as Frank Skinner that Gormley’s “plinth people” (in Skinner’s words) provide a litmus test of where you stand on modern culture. If you’re with them, you’re for democracy, the modern world and apple pie. If you don’t dig it, you must be some kind of square.

Read more at The Guardian: A monument to bad public art 

Please read the comments at the end of the article. Some are hysterical, outspoken and even articulate. God bless the Brits!


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