Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Plymouth University advertise £21k public art commission

Plymouth University are looking to commission an artist or design team to fulfil a commission at James Square on their campus.

Artists were invited to propose concepts in response to the themes of Interactivity, Housing, Enterprise and Shelter. The open selection process (stage 1) has now closed, 3 artists will then be invited to develop a proposal (stage 2). The artwork is due to be completed by the end of 2011.

For full details visit:

IXIA take over Public Art Online

IXIA the public art thinktank has taken over ownership and management of the Public Art Online website, which is a relief as the website had not been updated since the end of March 2010 when Public Art South West ceased trading. 

IXIA's Chief Executive Jonathan Banks said: “The website is a critical resource and ixia’s aim is to widen understanding about the value, role and commissioning of public art projects through Public Art Online. Over the coming months the website will be developed to ensure it is accessible to arts and non-arts policy makers and delivery organisations within the public and private sectors, curators, artists and the public.”

Initially, ixia will focus on ensuring Public Art Online is kept up-to-date, and any information about research, events or projects should be sent to info@ixia-info.com

In order to continue to receive updates, anyone who is subscribed to the existing Public Art Online emailing list will need to re-subscribe to ixia’s Public Art Online version due to the change of ownership. Current subscribers to Public Art Online will receive an e-newsletter informing them of the change of ownership and can be re-subscribed within a couple of clicks of a mouse button.

For those interested in becoming subscribers to Public Art Online, this can be done can by visiting http://www.publicartonline.org.uk/ and entering their details into the 'join our elist' section on the home page.

Artangel celebrate 20 years outside the gallery

Artangel are donating part of their video archive of site-specific commissions to Tate to mark 20 years of projects. Interesting article here:

One of Artangel's forthcoming projects is A Room for London, a temporary one-bedroom installation by David Kohn Architects and artist Fiona Banner, co-commissioned with Living ArchitectureThe building will be a boat called ‘Roi des Belges’, sited on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank during 2012. The building will offer  views of a London panorama stretching from Big Ben to St Paul's cathedral.

Alongside public booking, the Room will play host to a guest programme of special visitors or 'thinkers-in-residence' – artists, writers and cultural commentators of all kinds. They will be invited to stay and reflect on the city at a moment in time through writing, image-making, online postings or live webcasts.

To read more visit: 

Friday, 11 March 2011

Kenny Hunter sculpture unveiled in Spitalfields market

The winning design of the inaugural Spitalfields Sculpture Prize has been unveiled in London’s Spitalfields. Kenny Hunter’s hand-sculpted goat stands atop a stack of packing crates to create the 3.5metre high I Goat, which was inspired by Spitalfields’ rich, ongoing social history. 

"Goats are associated with non-conformity and being independently-minded. That is also true of London, it’s people and never more so than in Spitalfields." said artist Kenny Hunter at the official unveiling on 20 January 2011.

Scottish sculptor Hunter beat seven other shortlisted designs to win the £45,000 commission. Hunter is known for his monumental sculptures and his works have been exhibited worldwide. The judges said:
“We were pleased to be able to select a winner from such a wide-ranging and strong shortlist and it was a hard task picking an overall winner; but after long deliberations we were delighted to award the prize to Kenny Hunter’s I Goat. Hunter’s sculpture is well conceived and has particular relevance to the changing populations of the area surrounding Spitalfields - it has a great sense of transient cultures. As a sculpture it makes a very strong visual statement."
“We are pleased that we had such a healthy initial response from artists, with nearly 200 submissions, and are grateful for the involvement of the general public in helping to decide the winner of the prize. Thank you to the thousands of people who took time to vote.”
A public vote was combined with those of the judges - including Sir Richard MacCormac, Nigel Hall and Alex Sainsbury – to decide the overall winner.
The Spitalfields Sculpture Prize 2010 is supported by real estate company Hammerson, developer of Bishops Square, and international legal practice Allen & Overy LLP. 

Spitalfields Sculpture Prize School Project

As part of this year’s prize, a dozen year ten students from Morpeth School in Tower Hamlets chosen for their enthusiasm in the Visual Arts were introduced to the possibilities and excitement of public art by prize-winner Kenny Hunter.  Working in their own time and at after-school sessions, each student researched the history and area of Spitalfields, experimented with materials and processes, developed individual ideas, and made maquettes for site-specific pieces to produce wide-ranging, mature and creative work.

About Kenny Hunter

Born in Edinburgh in 1962, Kenny Hunter studied sculpture at Glasgow School of Art. He has exhibited extensively abroad and in the U.K. including solo exhibitions at
  • Scottish National Portrait Gallery (2000)
  • Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow, 2003)
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2006)
  • Tramway (Glasgow, 2008)
  • Conner Contemporary, Washington DC (2009)
Hunter has also created a number of high profile, commissioned works including 'Youth with split apple' (2005) for Kings College, Aberdeen, 'Citizen Firefighter' (2001) outside Glasgow's Central Station and ‘Natural Selection’ (2006) in Great Ormond Street Hospital. He was one of five shortlisted for the Olympic arts project Artists Taking The Lead, in Scotland. Hunter lives and works in Glasgow.

To read source article visit:

Jonathan Jones on grief and public art in The Guardian


How much bearing should private grief have on public art?

Opposition to Miya Ando's Thameside 9/11 sculpture is understandable, but civic monuments have a wider import
World Trade Center

Would a proposed Thameside sculpture made of steel girders taken from the debris of the twin towers offer a focal point for reflection? Photograph: Peter Morgan/Reuters
In May 1504, a colossal statue carved by the young Michelangelo was moved through the streets of Florence towards its chosen site in the political centre of the city. Mysterious assailants, perhaps supporters of the then-exiled Medici family, threw stones at it under cover of darkness. Public art has been controversial ever since David was stoned.
When a work of art is exhibited in a space defined as "public" rather than "private", its meanings change; it can assume a new kind of power or suffer a new kind of disgrace. Over time, it tends to become part of the local scenery – a generalisation to which David is an obvious exception. But when an artwork is new it can generate controversy that seems inexplicably intense, sometimes tearing down the barrier between fine art and real-life emotions.
There is such a dispute about a planned monument in London to the victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. The 9/11 monument designed by Miya Ando has been deferred after objections by British relatives of people who died in the attack and the September 11 UK families support group. Their discomfort apparently arises from the plan to use surviving steel girders from the wreckage of that dreadful day and present them in what has been called a provocatively "raw" way.
No one would want to lightly dismiss the feelings of these families, but is the monument exclusively for them? It seems a misunderstanding of public art to place decisive emphasis on the private feelings of one group, however potent their victimhood. Anyone who was personally afflicted by that atrocity is sentenced to a life of remembrance, just as no one who lost a son or brother in the first world war needed the Cenotaph to remind them of their pain. The Cenotaph is also a raw, bleak object, but we are glad it is there, pleased that poppies are worn and a silence held to remember the war. Monuments are not just for us but for the future, keeping history alive in the minds of generations as yet unborn.
Memory is never neutral. It is savagely political: tell me what you remember and I will tell you what side you are on. The memory of the terror attacks on America is particularly contested. It has arguably led to a cycle of further destruction – "the wars of 9/11" – while conspiracy theorists have tried to eat away at the facts of what happened that day. But it would be absurd to deny the severity of the event, the human cruelty and loss those twisted girders record, or the need to create a world in which such horrors are never again perpetrated.
Truly cataclysmic historical events exert a macabre charisma that can make their memory seem toxic or burdensome. Yet we can never take a sense of history for granted, and the facts need restating constantly. Historians sometimes complain that young people leave school with far more knowledge of the Holocaust than any other historical event – but can we really say there is too much Holocaust history taught in schools? It seems there can never be enough to educate some people.
Nor can it be a good thing to forget 9/11 or treat it as a private matter for the people directly affected. It has shaped our time and we are not out of its shadow. A striking artistic memorial in London would be a focal point for discussion and analysis, for school groups and for anyone wanting to reflect. This memory is, as a contemporary said of David in 1504, "a public thing", and the public would benefit from a permanent place to confront it in London.

Sustainable Practice in Public Art seminar, 15th April, Manchester

Chrysalis Arts in collaboration with MIRIAD at MMU present a seminar about how artists and commissioners can begin to address the ecological and sustainability issues associated with climate change through their professional practice.

Inspirational speakers - PASA case studies - Group discussions

Seminar - April 15th - 10am to 4.30pm
Manchester Metropolitan University
Sandra Burslem Building  SB 2.10
Information & programme: www.pasaguidelines.org
Bookings: email chrysalis@artdepot.org.uk  or tel 01756 749222
Directions: www.mmu.ac.uk/travel/allsaints

MMU staff and students - free
Freelance practitioners £12
Organisations £30

Supported by MMU, MIRIAD, Chrysalis Arts Development, Arts Council England, Lottery Funded

Monday, 7 March 2011

Broomfield Hospital public art programme causes controversy

Some links to articles about the £400k public art programme at Broomfield Hospital in Essex....

A little film:

It even made the Daily Mail! Under the headline '
Hospital splashes out £421k on 'modern art' – while trying to slash £40m from its budget'

Evening Standard

Dare I mention the Per Cent for Art programme and that, for a £148m build programme, they should have spent more than three times as much? Also  no separation is recognised between the capital and revenue funding......never mind though, eh, art is always an easy target. Whether any of it is any good is another question.

Liverpool Discovers - temporary public art programme til 20th March 2011

Carolyn Murray has asked me to highlight 'Liverpool Discovers' (14 Feb - 20 March 2011) a city-wide temporary public art trail featuring 12 interactive artworks revealing little known facts about the city. Artists include David Kemp, Andy Plant, Andy Hazell, Carrie Reichardt, and Joe Rush. Jointly commissioned by Wild in Art and Liverpool Lantern Company.

For more details visit the website at:  www.liverpooldiscovers.co.uk

More info about the Faith Bebbington project here: