Processions Belfast – Pro-Choice Groups Bring Political Energy to a Commemorative Art Project

As the participants for the Belfast event of the UK-wide art project Processions gathered at Titanic Slipway yesterday, it was clear that something exciting was happening. Thousands of women were mingling, hugging, photographing each other’s banners, even dancing a little in an atmosphere of celebration and fun. Processions is a living sculpture artwork, that celebrated one hundred years of votes for women. In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave the first British women the right to vote and … Read more

What’s That Thing? “a clumsy, aggressive, cheap-looking new sculpture overlooking Belfast”

As the BBC reports, Belfast has won another award!  In association with the Architecture Foundation, the Spectator magazine has bestowed its What’s That Thing? award for bad public art on Origin – part of the Farset Project, one of “seven big, bold and ambitious cultural projects” that Belfast City Council have developed alongside the Arts Council of Northern Ireland with an overall cost of £900,000. An 11-metre high public art piece located at Squire’s Hill at the entrance to Cavehill Country Park, with £100,000 … Read more

Sinn Féin Cllr Anne Brolly: “I thought the British Army had all gone home.”

The six-foot sculpture of supposed Celtic sea-god, Manannán Mac Lir, that was ‘stolen’ from Binevenagh Mountain, near Limavady, in County Londonderry, has been found – some 300 metres from its original location… [Good initial search, Batman! – Ed]. The sculpture was apparently discovered by local ramblers, who “advised members of A company 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment soldiers who helped police recover the statue”.  The soldiers were in the area having been deployed by helicopter to the north Antrim Coast on a … Read more

“This issue regarding Mute Meadow resides with Ilex.”

Apparently, there’s a problem with the £800,000 public artwork, “Mute Meadow“, in Londonderry.  Although it’s not entirely clear what the “issue” actually is.  It was supposed to have been ‘switched on’ on 25 June 2011. The permanent public installation, designed by Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier, was announced as the winner of the Foyle Public Arts Project in 2009. From the BBC report Vong Phaophanit, Turner prize nominee and his co-creator, Claire Oboussier, have commented on the issue. “‘The protracted process in … Read more

A “stupenduous act of cultural vandalism”

And in the first UK City of Culture too…  The Derry Journal reports the reaction of Australian artist, Joan Walsh-Smith, on learning that her 30 metre long public artwork, City People, commissioned in 1973 by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for the Foyle Street Urban Park in Londonderry, was bulldozed in the mid-1990s to make way for a carpark.  From the Derry Journal report Mrs. Walsh-Smith recently queried the whereabouts of the Arts Council commissioned project after trying to locate it on Google street … Read more

“The trouble with public art…”

The ‘Balls on the Falls’ are nearing completion, at a reported cost of £486,000.  Timely then to read the Guardian’s art critic Jonathan Jones on news that Mark Wallinger’s proposed giant white horse at Ebbsfleet is unlikely to become a reality.  From Jonathan Jones’ blog The trouble with public art is that it is a load of ugly, pompous, pretentious and narcissistic rubbish dumped on a snoozing public by arrogant bureaucrats and sponsors … Sorry, leapt to the point a … Read more

“Rise is the tallest piece of public art ever commissioned in Northern Ireland…”

The Belfast Telegraph reports that construction work has begun on Nottingham artist Wolfgang Buttress’ 37.5 metres tall, 30 metre wide, ‘Rise’ sculpture at the Broadway Junction – a year later than was expected in 2009.  From the Belfast Telegraph report The massive silver and white steel sculpture, which will be taller than the city’s Albert Clock, is being built at the Broadway Roundabout — just yards from where some householders still have outside toilets. Designed by Nottingham artist Wolfgang Buttress, it is made … Read more

Belfast’s ‘Magic Jug’ dropped

BBC NI Radio Ulster’s Evening Extra has reported that the Northern Ireland Department for Social Development have confirmed that the ‘Magic Jug’ public art sculpture, destined for Fountain Street, Belfast, has been cancelled. [added link to BBC report] Nothing to do with the campaign, apparently.  The £100,000 cost has been cited as the main factor in the decision.  They have, reportedly, already spent £20,000 on the commissioning process. Adds  In the comments zone Moochin points to this 27 Aug letter from the … Read more

Belfast’s Magic Jug: “a silly, frivolous piece of public art”

Moochin noted the start of the campaign against the proposed “Magic Jug” sculpture in Belfast’s Fountain Street .  Now there’s an open letter to the Department for Social Development, signed by a number of artists, architects and others, setting out their concerns under four headings: Procurement, Location, The Wider Plan and Sustainability. And here’s an Irish Times report from the 8th May about the campaign “Yes, I think the Magic Jug is rubbish – a silly, frivolous piece of public art,” … Read more

Gormley’s Wire Man not “being progressed”

In January last year the Dublin Docklands Authority stated that although they would “not be proceeding” with Antony Gormley’s Wire Man sculpture at that time, “the project will be kept under review and the Docklands Authority will continue working with the artist and others to progress the design at this stage.”  They also confirmed that “the sculpture is an important element of the Docklands Arts Strategy”.  Today’s Sunday Times reports that despite assurances to the artist, and DDA spending more than … Read more

Smash or Hug the Jug?

The recent announcement by Margaret Ritchie of the latest piece of commissioned public art for Belfast city centre raised a few hackles amongst the arts scene here. A group “No more public art in Belfast” was set up on facebook and through that group, a public meeting was held today at Place the Architectural and Built Environment Centre for Northern Ireland, to discuss this proposed artwork. Well attended with artist’s, practitioners, architects and the interested, the discussion moved swiftly away … Read more