Rethinking the Fourth Plinth
The committee have made their decision about the next artists to do their thing on the Fourth Plinth. It will be Antony Gormley (or rather ‘we, the people’ taking their turn) and Yinka Shonibare.
This Guardian piece and another commentary by Charlotte Higgins are both a bit flat about the decision and the programme in general:
Whatever we might think about the quality of the work on the plinth over the years (and I think it’s been pretty good) it has done a great job at raising the profile of public art in the media. Although the choice of artist is made by a ‘great and good’ committee, the public have been encouraged to have their say and it is accompanied by a creative education programme. See the links on the Fourth Plinth website:
Although there has been a great increase in public art in the last decade, there are no other programmes that reach such a huge audience in such a central space of the capital with such topical contemporary art. We should value it while it lasts because it is under review. Munira Mirza, the new head of culture, arts and creative leisure for Boris, has said so:
This interview was soon after her appointment, so she was speaking out rather early.
“No decisions have been made yet,” she said. “Because I haven’t started, I can’t say. We will review everything.” It’s clear that the top of the list of ‘everything’ is the Fourth Plinth because of Boris’ wish to see a statue of a war hero. The programme is set to run for 3 years more, with a temporary war memorial in the Olympics year. But after that, it’s not clear.
Update: Jonathon Jones reveals that the plinth is being kept warm for a statue of the Queen!