Sunday, 30 October 2011

Heatherwick's Blue Carpet attracts scrap metal thieves

Thomas Heatherwick's 'Blue Carpet' artwork outside the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle has become the latest victim of a spate of thefts that have been attributed to the current high value of scrap metal.

According to the Newcastle Journal, on 25th September 2011 thieves had stolen a smaller amount of bronze plating, but on the evening of 5th October 2011 thousands of pounds worth of bronze, which formed the border of the artwork, was taken. The two thefts are believed to be linked.
The artwork, which was originally completed in 2001, had cost around £1.4m (or £1.6m, depending on which source you believe) and been lottery funded as part of a regeneration initiative. While the artwork has disappointed some - its intended hue has not been very blue for some time - it is usually heralded for its playful nature and for blurring the boundaries between urban design and public art. It is sad indeed to see our public spaces being stripped in this way, especially when there is extremely limited funding for new commissioning at this time and local authorities are struggling to make savings.

Read the Newcastle Journal's original article here:

Read Alan Sykes' Guardian Northerner blog article about the theft here:

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