Saturday, 13 December 2014

The art of cronyism

The real world has prevented me posting for a while, but I had to point out the latest tat Ramsey Commissioners have dumped on us under the ongoing town degeneration scheme (see ).
Believe me, however bad you think it looks in the picture, the reality is far worse. No wonder it was unveiled in the dark. Until this gargoyle rocked up, a disability scooter or pram could just about get up a section of pavement the regeneration scheme had finally (and I suspect accidentally) fixed. Now it's back to normal. Another nice one, Nigel and his co- numpties.
And what is it about the conception and delivery of “public art” that local government and the Manx Culture Mafia find so hard to think about? Everything, apparently.
Why else could it be that every time some public sector apparatchik hatches half an excuse to commission a statue we get a giant size replica of one of those toys you used to get free in Cornflakes packets?
Since the Millennium, Ramsey has now suffered the Nazi Tyre outside the Shoprite toilets, the Two Crusties moved from the Town Hall to the “community area” outside the soon-to-be closed Ramsey Post Office (the only public fixture in the redeveloped area any member of the public genuinely wants) ...... and now this.
Look, the return to the figurative (rather than abstract) in 21st century public sculpture is supposed to engage the public. When Damien Hirst creates ghastly giant size versions of awful toys it is meant ironically. When Anthony Gormley, (perhaps more effectively) created the Angel of the North or his sea watchers on the beach it caused people to look twice or gasp, and then rethink the way they see that landscape. Whoever commissions such pieces at least assumes ordinary members of the public without art history degrees are intelligent enough to do that.
By comparison, the rash of god-awful cod-fascist crap inflicted on the Manx public over the last 20 years and excused as statuary or urban redevelopment really needs …......
Well, let's just ask where are Gustav Metzger and Jean Tinguely now that we really need them?
Some will say that if I feel this strongly I should do something more than moan; possibly stand for the IOM Arts Council or something. Well, I would, only the call for next year's members was only made yesterday (Friday), the applications have to be in by next Friday, and the new Council starts operating in January.
Think about this. Applications to be in three and a half days before all government departments take the phone off the hook, have a glass of bubbly on the taxpayers and shut up shop until January 5th, from about which date the new Arts Council has to be up and running?
Does anyone else spot the obvious problem?
And does anyone else have just the teensy-weensiest suspicion of a private club pre-deciding next year's members?

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