The Square From Hell

Warning to all sculptors, avoid taking on any commissions from Bristol’s Millennium Square. They don’t seem to like public art there. A life-size bronze sculpture of martyr William Tyndale is the latest victim of vandals. Poor old Tyndale, who’s claim to fame was to be the first person to translate the Bible into English, has been finally removed for repairs. A spokeswoman for @Bristol said “Due to acts of vandalism in Millennium Square the statue of William Tyndale has had to be removed because it was in a dangerous state.’ All that remain are a pair of bronze boots (obviously they aren’t considered vandal fodder!). Jasmine, the poor bronze Jack Russell (by Cathie Pilkington), was a victim too. She was ripped from her bolts only to be found, reinstalled then vandalized again (ala Larry LaTrobe). And lets not forget stag beetle, poor bronze creature (by Nicola Hicks) had it’s antennae broken off. Now Nicola has to make replacement “screw in ones” which will be used on “special” occasions. How sad!

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£50 and an Apology

It seems the thieves who stole a Haslingden sculpture created by children from a special school have been struck down by guilt. Yes, not only did they return the 7ft called the “Workers” but they included in their apology note (ah huh they wrote one) £50 . The note read : “We’re sorry. We didn’t know the children made this and we are very sorry for stealing drunken. I hope the attached £50 will cover the cost to re-weld him on. Don’t worry we’ve looked after him.” See, sometimes there are nice thieves!

Missing a Picasso ?

When WIlliam M.V. Kingsland died in 2006, he left behind over 300 works of art squeezed into his one bedroom apartment in New York. So what is so wacky about this story is that many of the pieces have subsequently been found to be stolen. Good god, the man was an art thief, hobnobbing with Manhattan’s upper crust. Hmm and guess what? Yep, Kingsland wasn’t his real name either, he once went by the name Melvyn Kohn. All came to light when New York Public Administrator, Ethel Griffin, hired two auction houses to sell the art. Imagine their surprise when they discovered many pieces were reported stolen in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Included in the collection are sketches by Picasso (which a mover tried to steal during in the discovery).  Now it is the FBI handling the case and they have posted a page of goodies believed to be stolen. They are hoping the public will be able to assist in identifying the paintings. Click here if you want to have a sticky beak… FBI art theft… By the way no pieces of Public Art were found in the apartment!

I Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Denver, Moo Means the World To UsIs everyone familiar with CowParade? If not let me fill you in. CowParade is a charity event, boasting to be the “largest Public Art event in the world”. The general gist is if comes to your city, you get hundreds of 60kg fibre glass cows to decorate and then auction off for charity. Usually the city invites celebrities and artists to decorate the beasts as that usually raises more money (and interest). Now this event is nothing to be sneezed at, it raises millions of dollars and travels all over the world. But the event also has its fair share of controversy, David “Twin Peaks” Lynch’s cow was rejected in the New York cow parade, deemed too gruesome. It had knives and forks in its back and no head.

However the biggest controversy happened in Stockholm, Sweden when one of the cows was kidnapped. A Swedish organization calling themselves The Militant Graffiti Artists of Stockholm claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and sent a video to the local new station. The militants appeared in the footage with the “hooded” cow, demanding that the organizers of the Cow Parade declare the event “non art”. Evidently the group were none too impressed with the blatant advertising sprawled all over the fibreglass cows. Needless to say their demands were ignored and the cow was decapitated. I told you I couldn’t make this up! Nobody was ever charged with this brutally funny crime.

If you spot one of these CowParade cows in your neighborhood let me know. There has got to be thousands of them around the world, but where are they ?  I spotted one old cow in Denver.

Dog Gone

Larry La TrobeIt’s 1995, Melbourne, Australia, pedestrians are making their way through the busy streets to work, its rush hour. Then somebody screams. Everyone stops and turns. Larry la Trobe is gone. The city icon, a small bronze dog, has been stolen , despite being anchored to the pavement with 30 cm bolts. A distraught City of Melbourne Council launch a ‘return Larry’ campaign, but to no avail. The dog has simply vanished.

As days fall into months the people of Melbourne realize the pooch ain’t coming back.

A sadness descends over the metropolis. Peter Kolliner, the owner of the foundry where Larry was created, casts the largest shadow of them all. So upset by the theft, he offers to recast the mutt. Pamela Irving, the sculptor, adds a few color changes, making it identifiable in case of another mishap before the new and improved Larry La Trobe is unveiled. The day was highlighted by a band playing “Larry Come Home – a dogumentary” to the tune of Advanced Australia Fair ( I kid you not). More on Larry La Trobe here.