Wednesday, December 09, 2015


It’s not been a great time for public sculpture over the last year or so. In Wellington it’s been lightning strikes and repair work, in Hamilton jockeying for choice sites among competing sculptures (seriously) and in Auckland a general disinclination to have anything new. Now Tauranga is at it giving cat guy Gareth Morgan a no-go on his proposal to install a Phil Price sculpture in front of his house. As an old campaigner you'd have to wonder why Morgan agreed to a project that required two Pohutakawa to bite the dust so that his sculpture got some leg room (ok, arm room). Although Morgan told the council he'd plant replacement Pohutakawa, there's no sign of them on the artist's impression of the work. As to the argument that the removal of the trees is about ‘allowing the sculpture to move freely’, it seems a bit specious given that one of the trees has to be removed so that there's any space at all for the sculpture. The Tauranga Advisory Group claimed that ‘it was a great piece of art' and 'No aspect of the work is objectionable’ but you probably couldn’t convince the trees of that. Public sculpture, can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
Images: artist impression of Price installation and bottom nervous trees