Is Sustainable Art Practice Possible?
London's Fourth Plinth project, Phyllida Barlow and what to do with unsold art
Last week the issue of the validity and form of civic art was once again in the news, but not for the familiar reasons we’ve heard a lot about in recent years over the commemoration of questionable historical figures. The British artist Rachel Whiteread called for the end of the Fourth Plinth project, a popular public art competition funded by the London Mayor’s office. Every two years since 1999 a different artist has been commissioned to fill the empty fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square with a work of art voted for by the public.
This project is important. For a start it champions contemporary art. It’s a rare opportunity for artists to receive significant funding to make and show their work on a large scale in public. And it veers away from the traditionally figurative (and some may say safe) formula that most public sculpture commissions tend towards. Just think about the recent sculpture of Diana in Kensington…