Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Game’s on

There are two competing teams in Wellington’s Sculptural smack down. In the red corner is the Wellington Sculpture Trust, earnest proselytisers for high art to denote a cultural Capital. In the blue corner stands Weta Workshop, brash enthusiasts who see art as popular culture in its own right. The Trust believes in promoting established artists like Dawson, Moore, Drummond and Lye while Weta is convinced its own skills are more than up to the job of creating cultural monuments. And so from Weta and its staff Wellington has already got the Louise Bourgeois-like Spider in Courtenay Place and a couple of naked guys on the waterfront. 

Now Wellington is about to debate a Weta proposal for giant footy players to mark the 2011 Rugby World Cup. This latest scheme is backed by Wellington’s Mayor Kerry Prendergast, someone who knows a major contributor to her city when she sees one. 

The proposed sculpture is five metres high (as a rough guide it would take ten of them stacked on top of one another to equal the height of Sweden’s proposed giant moose) and is budgeted at $350,000 to be picked up by Wellington ratepayers. Prendergast has told the NZ Herald that, "Art always invites debate but I am hoping that the majority of Wellingtonians will see that this legacy is more than just about rugby." The Weta people, more pragmatically, announced, "It will be a massive construction job with probably up to 30 people working on it at any one time…" 

The proposal is to go up for public consultation. It will be interesting to hear the Wellington’s institutional art leaders stand, in particular the members of the Wellington City Council Public Art Panel (you can see who they are here) will have to say.