Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Strata title

It’s not been a great year for public sculptor Chris Booth. Taurapa, a site specific work installed in Christchurch in 1997, might have to be relocated and in Melbourne, a major work that has been a feature of the city for 15 years is threatened with destruction. Who’d be in the public sculpture game? 

Of course the problem is that the sculptors and sometimes the commissioners all believe that these works are forever, but forever is a long, long time in today’s world. Richard Serra was an early victim of changing tastes. In 1989 his steel sculpture Tilted Arc was removed despite all the artist’s best efforts and ended up in storage. As far as Serra was concerned it had been destroyed. Now it looks as though Booth’s work Strata (with its striking physical similarity to the Serra piece) is also facing the wrecking ball, or more likely the wrecking jack hammer. At first there was some hope that Strata might be given to the University of Melbourne, but as the university would have had to stump up with around $100,000 for removal, freight and reinstallation, the ‘gift’ was ultimately rejected. 

Last word then to Richard Serra,‘the experience of a work is inseparable from the place in which the work resides. Apart from that condition, any experience of it is a deception.’

PS: News that the work may have been purchased by MONA. (Thanks M)

Images: top, threatened Chris Booth's Strata and bottom, gone Serra's Tilted arc