Angels and Horses – A post from Heritage Action

This post highlights a number of issues for artists and others to ponder upon!     http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/the-angel-of-the-north-and-the-horse-of-the-south-different-monuments-same-disrespect/#like-39060

 

As you may recall, we’ve grumbled very many times about the exploitation of the Uffington White Horse  and other monuments for commercial purposes on the grounds that eroding respect for them creates a risk of damage to all monuments. So we were pleased to see similar sentiments last Sunday by Stewart Lee in the Observer …..

Last weekend, the world woke to find Morrisons had projected an image of a cut-price baguette on to the outstretched wings of Antony Gormley’s iconic public artwork The Angel of the North. The stick of bread was the perfect shape to occupy the Angel’s wingspan, and one wonders what other products Morrisons might have filled Gormley’s emotionally resonant secular sacred space with next. A toilet brush perhaps?

In March 2012, the stupid bookmakers Paddy Power celebrated the Cheltenham horse murdering festival by drawing a jockey overnight on to the 3,000-year-old chalky flanks of White Horse of Uffington. Paddy Power claim to have done no damage and instead their own blog invited us to think of them as “lovable scamps” and “mischief makers”, the Horrid Henrys of wilful cultural vandalism.

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Our last culture minister suggested that public art’s only value was commercial, and our new culture minister supports ticket touts, suggesting culture’s value is merely whatever the market wants to pay for it. In receipt of such mixed messages, is it any wonder Morrisons looked at the aching wingspan of Gormley’s Angel and saw only an empty space that wasn’t being maximally monetised?

And that’s where we are now. Ancient forests can be destroyed, if equal amounts of trees are planted somewhere else, an inherent sense of place and historical resonance translated into the worth of its mere weight in wood. It’s me that’s out of step, I am sure.

You’re not alone Stewart!

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