Thursday, 9 May 2013

Boy With Frog Goes

Yesterday US artist Charles Ray's 8ft tall Boy With Frog (2009) was removed from outside the Punta della Dogana on the Grand Canal in Venice, where it has stood for the last four years. A copy of a 19th-century lamp-post will take its place. Art lovers are furious with the council. Dogs will cock a leg. Froggy billionaire Francois Pinault commissioned the statue to stand outside the Punta della Dogana, a former custom house which now houses his collection of contemporary art (CLICK). Where will the boy go?

8 Comments:

At 9/5/13, Anonymous Kris said...

That is a pity - a piece of good figurative sculpture that didn't take itself too seriously.

They replaced the original "touring" fibreglass one with this stainless steel one. It was presumed that the investment in durability meant tourists had guaranteed it being there for posterity.

However there was the hidden cost of a presumably permanent security guard to avoid unwanted emulation of Liverpool's "Superlambanana" decorations. It appeared from some pictures that it was protected at night by a large glass cage lowered over it?

On the face of it a lamppost is not going to attract tourist attention. Although something equally humorous in the style of the ones on the Albert Bridge approach in Chelsea might prove a minor tourist feature.

On the theme of memorable exceptions to the usual styles. Have you ever seen the six figures by Maurice Lambert high up on the facade of 33 Grosvenor Place, London?

Apparently commissioned when it was the Associated Electrical Industries building. The overall theme is obviously the same winged angel with halo spikes defeating demons.

Possibly a 20th century interpretation of the St Michael theme - to compare with Jacob Epstein's one at Coventry Cathedral, They are reminiscent of medieval cathedral demons - but why for AEI?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mocatraman/8720224474/in/photostream/

 
At 9/5/13, Anonymous Kris said...

Found a good picture of the Albert Bidge lamppost.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/misterpeter/3067051282/

 
At 9/5/13, Blogger Ian Cox said...

Hi, Kris

Yes, two security guards and a glass case. It must have cost a pretty penny. And who was paying? Venice council or the French billionaire who commissioned it? He should have put it inside his art museum. Mind you, great publicity for his collection. Great statue, a real tourist trap.

Don't ask me about angels on the AEI building. Who knows what daft ideas get into the heads of executives when they commission a work of art.

I've seen the Coventry Cathedral Christ and its hideous.

I like the Eric Gill statue on the old BBC Television Centre in London. And Boudicia on her deadly chariot near Westminster Bridge is a stunner.

 
At 9/5/13, Blogger Ian Cox said...

P.S.

Love the ice cream cornet. I haven't seen that before.

 
At 11/5/13, Anonymous Kris said...

The collective title of the Associated Electrical Industries bulding sculptures makes a tenuous link - "The Angel of Light Overcoming the Powers of Darkness". Later than I expected 1958-60.

The vacated BBC Television Centre at Shepherds Bush has (had?) "Helios" by T.B.Huxley-Jones.

Presumably you mean Gill's "Ariel and Prospero" at Broadcasting House. Was that ever a TV centre? There were TV studios previously at Lime Grove and Alexandra Palace.

There are some Gill "Ariel" friezes too - plus modern works added for the building's renovation.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/broadcastinghouse/community/comm_outside.shtml

Apparently there have been some new calls to have the Ariel statue removed on the grounds of Eric Gill's private diaries and the Jimmy Savile scandal.
http://news.uk.msn.com/bbc-urged-to-remove-gill-sculpture

Is a new Dark Age for figurative art looming again? If public works of art are censored on account of their creators' chequered lives, or other tenuous links, then how much would survive? The National Vigilance Society springs anew.

 
At 11/5/13, Blogger Ian Cox said...

Hi again, Kris

You're right. It was Broadcasting House. The BBC seems to have buildings all over the place. I literally ran into Raymond Baxter when I was delivering something there as a messenger boy.

I think the Dark Age for art is already upon us, certainly in literature. Enid Blyton has been censored. And what of "Uncle Tom's Cabin"? Does it still contain the phrase "Nigger in a woodpile"? A commonly used phrase when I was a lad. And I can still remember a Rupert story entitled "Rupert on Coon Island", in which a tribe of fuzzy wuzzies with bones through their noses chased the young bear, determined to put him in a cooking pot. Tin Tin is racist too!

Retrospective censorship of art on the basis that the artist had the wrong mindset is even worse. One of the reasons Vasari's "Lives of the Artists" was so succssful is that it is full of gossip about the great masters: pregnant nuns, murder, general bitchiness. Would we rip up Caravagio's canvases because he was a killer?

I'm sick of all this political correctness. Oh, for the days of innocence!

 
At 14/7/13, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think the Dark Age for art is already upon us, certainly in literature. Enid Blyton has been censored. And what of "Uncle Tom's Cabin"? Does it still contain the phrase "Nigger in a woodpile"? A commonly used phrase when I was a lad. And I can still remember a Rupert story entitled "Rupert on Coon Island", in which a tribe of fuzzy wuzzies with bones through their noses chased the young bear, determined to put him in a cooking pot."

Ian Cox, your attitude is certainly from the dark ages. If you think it's acceptable to use offensive language (with the full knowledge that it IS offensive) and claim it's 'art', then surely you must welcome people insulting you 'in an artistic fashion' too, right?

For your edification, those words were ALWAYS offensive, they were only spoken and written by ignorant minded individuals who inexplicably thought themselves above every other race.

Fortunately, some human beings are capable of learning, maturing and developing their intellect as they grow older. They recognise that some previously celebrated 'heroes' were actually flawed in some aspects, as we all are.
The majority of the world share this view about those embarrassing works, that is why things like this are changing for the better.

There is no shame in amending offensive works, there is only shame in obstinately clinging to them under the banner of being anti PC.

Art is subjective, words as offensive as those you blithely include in your post are NOT.

It's quite cowardly. It's patently obvious that you wouldn't have the guts to utter those words face to face with a black man because you're perfectly aware that they are offensive!

 
At 14/7/13, Blogger Ian Cox said...

I notice you didn't have the guts to put your name to your comment.

I did ask a black work colleague what she preferred to be called. She preferred to be called "black" rather than "Negro". What really annoyed her was people remarking she must be enjoying the hot weather, because of her colour!

I assume you've never read Robert B. Parker (white) or novels by any black American author. Americans aren't afraid to use the term "nigger" in the context of speech. They're not as ridiculously PC as Brits are. Or you. The BBC refers to it as "the N word", for God's sake!

Try reading "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" by Mildred D. Taylor, a great black American writer. Then tell me it should be censored in retrospect to salve your idiotic PC concerns. You're a bigot who doesn't know it.

 

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