Anorak News | Scrap Art

Scrap Art

by | 25th, January 2006

‘WHAT’S the point of art? In newspaper terms, art is something that is either sold at auction for a ludicrous sum of money to a Japanese bank, or an unmade bed that causes readers to clack their tongues in disapproval.

Seconds later, Ted (right) made a break for it

But art can be so much more. Art can cover that crack in the wall. Art can get little Armani a degree and her friend Prunella a job. Art can be scrap.

No, SCRAP. As the Times reports, a bronze sculpture by late British artist Lynn Chadwick has been stolen and police think it may be melted down for scrap.

Having entered the grounds of Roehampton University, thieves spotted The Watchers, which lives outdoors. As a staff member tells the Times, the three large figures stand about 7ft tall and weigh around a third of a tonne.

Or, rather, they did. Now there are just two large figures. The third stands about five inches from the ground, having had its legs sawn through and the body removed.

And this is not the first time of its sort. In the past six months, there have been 19 thefts of large bronzes in and around the London area.

Detective Sergeant Vernon Rapley, head of the Metropolitan police’s arts and antiques unit, explains all to the Guardian.

‘They were all large bronzes,’ he says with a confidence rooted in many years policing. “Not in any one particular style. They included human figures, abstracts and even a seven-foot cockroach.”

Hmmm… There could be a pattern emerging. And while the Met’s sleuths search for a gargantuan metal insect, we wonder if this isn’t in some way an example of art in action?

The Guardian tells us that the Chadwick sculpture could be worth £300,000 intact. The Henry Moore sculpture, stolen from the Henry Moore Foundation in mid-December, is valued at £3million. But when scrapped, the Moore is worth just £5,000 and the Chadwick may command as little as £1,000.

And in an instant we are minded of the K Foundation arts movement which famously burnt a million pounds in cash in 1994.

Might it be that the melting of these bronzes is an attempt to subvert the established arts world, to strip the contrived and worthy down to their essential parts?

Is it art? Or is it moulded scrap metal?’

Posted: 25th, January 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink