Saturday, January 12, 2008

Trafalgar Square's Bald Spot Seeks New Cover Art

Trafalgar Square 1908

Since 1845, the spinster plinth has stood barren and unembellished without a permanent pièce de résistance showing in the midst of London's premier gathering place offsetting the carved ivory halls of power. This week, artists are queuing up to offer their modern art works to fill the perennially empty forth plinth of Trafalgar Square with an annual offering. The triumvirate of plinths has statues galore amid the great square offers access to the august National Gallery. The fourth one remained empty because the cash cow was without the mother's milk of politics - money. Besides, no one had a majority of huzzahs among deceased monarchs and obscure war hero candidates. In honor of the fourth plinth commissions, (forever) Pregnant made a strong bid to win in 2005. Last years winner is a Hotel Model.

But clever Brits not on an arts commission, used bone dry humour to great effect in covering the bald plinth with everything from Toussad's wax of David Beckham, as a modern contrivance for branding a British television station to an empty spot where overfed pigeons perched. Here a Splat, there a splat, then the Trafalgar pigeon poo wars dropped into sloppy high gear. Last year, Trafalgar square received a 2,000 square meter grass toupee in a green endeavor. To class up the fourth plinth, art was commissioned drawing many reactions. A strong effort was made to get the recently dedicated nine foot statue of Nelson Mandela as the fourth plinth.

Roughly, nine thousand people are sought by one artist to stand on his modern pedestal for an hour each. Another entrant made a ship in the bottle with yet another going for the big brother eye in the sky theme. Then there is the cute reprise of the Lion King with the meerkat family and they look great up close, but from across the square they will be four black blots. A car bomb exploded is a bit much to take in as The Spoils of War. Pigeons, artist people, pigeons. These art pieces will be outside, in the elements, and at the mercy of tourists. All of the artist models for the 2008 selection, both disturbing and those inciting yawns, will be on display until the 30th of March.

To put a fine point on the enduring quality of Trafalgar Square and its meaning to the People of Britain, take a gander through photograph's in Trafalgar Square: A Vision of London's Landmark Through Time offered by Jean Hood.

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