Monday, March 07, 2011

Sculpture for nobs

Not long now before Michael Parekowhai ships his bronze sculptures off to Venice for the Biennale. That occasion seems like excuse enough to look at another Venetian bronze-animal-sculpture-story, this one about a bronze horse. Not the famous foursome on top of St Mark's, but the horse and rider by Marino Marini called Angel of the City that sits outside the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal. 

When Guggenheim commissioned the piece she insisted on it having a removable rod (aka penis) that could be screwed on and off to allow for a quick manning-down in case of offence being taken by prudish guests. Hard to see how the sight of Peggy Guggenheim’s gloved hands frantically unscrewing a penis off a guy riding a horse was going to settle the guests down, but there you are. The willy has since been welded on to prevent theft and to hell with the feint hearted. 

When we saw another cast of this sculpture at the Getty Center in LA and bingo. If you think Peggy G was being overly concerned about the chances of her penis being unscrewed, you’re wrong. That’s just what a visitor did to the Getty’s one in 2009. Not sure what happened to it next, but in 2009 it was ‘sitting on a paper towel’ in the desk drawer of an intern conservator named Sarah Butler. As you can see from our photos taken earlier this year, it is either still lying there or has been nicked again, who knows for what awful purpose.
Images; Top Guggenheim with. Bottom Getty without.