Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Hideous work of art to give Carbuncle new lease of life?

I have never been a fan of public art and especially if we get it just for the sake of having it. But if we must have it, it really ought to be of the best quality. So take a look at the, to my way of thinking, ghastly monstrosity that Cumbernauld thinks is its answer to the Angel of the North.

Poor old Cumbernauld. According to the Scotsman (printed in England) it has been labelled the "Kabul of the north" (depsite its being in the central belt), drawn comparisons with Eastern Europe before the Wall came down, and is reputed to be the most dismal place to stay in Scotland. But Cumbernauld embarked on what townspeople hope will be a fresh start yesterday when its newest landmark, a 33ft sculpture, was put in place.

This monstrous carbuncle (as, no doubt, Prince Charles would call it),
by artist Andy Scott, was “inspired” by the town's original name, "Comar nan allt", which is "coming together of waters" in Gaelic. The piece, overlooking the A80 north of Auchenkilns junction, is a steel structure of a female form incorporating two large swooping arcs.

Costing a whopping £250,000, it was commissioned by Campsies Centre Cumbernauld Ltd (CCCL), a company established by North Lanarkshire Council to lead the redevelopment of the town. Councillor Gerry McElroy, who chairs CCCL, hopes the sculpture, called Arria, will become iconic.

Councillor McElroy said that they wanted to create a new, distinctive image for Cumbernauld, so the statue was going to stand as a "signpost to the town". It would be seen by 70,000 people every day. He reckoned that eventually people would come to associate the statue with Cumbernauld and that it would give the population a new-found confidence.

He hoped too for spin-offs in inward investment in the town and that people would come to realise that Cumbernauld was more than just the old town-centre

Mr McElroy said the landmark was proof that Cumbernauld had "moved on" and was looking to the future.

Really Mr McElroy? In my opinion it is one of the worst examples of public art being erected for its own sake. It reminds me of the statue of Peter the Great that stands in the Moskva in Moscow, a truly hideous item of public art by Zurab Tsereteli. It is said that they accidentally put another zero on the original plans and nobody noticed until the statue .... standing at 308 feet (98meters)...was completed.

I just don’t see how some gigantic woman with wings is going to inspire new found confidence in someone forced to live in one of the squalid little flats in the grey concrete jungle that is Cumbernauld. Much better save up all the money that is spent on useless items of art like this, knock the place down and start again.


  1. That's not art in any form and people complain about windmills, the artist must be watching too much reality telly.

  2. Totally. It is worse than criminal waste of money, time and effort.

  3. Have not seen it yet in reality but in the photo it looks out of place. Are they going to stick it on one of the million roundabouts or in the Clyde FC goal-mouth. At present it looks like as big a waste of money as the Milton Keynes concrete cows.

  4. I used to commission public art, and i can tell you that that is a monstrosity! From the front it looks like her hands are coming out of her armpits.

  5. Munguin.

    If I were a drunk guy in Cumbernauld and came across that big bird one night, then I would had thought that all my perverted dreams had come true.

  6. Wouldn't be a Labour council then eh Munguin? They always seem to like covering their areas in cheap tat that they think is art.

    They did the same when they were in power here in Paisley...the tat they commissioned as art was a load of junk. One, a water tower in County Square has already been demolished because only the pidgeons liked it for showers - when it worked that is. There is aluminium framed 2 metre high glass panels all over the place with about six vertical coloured stripes now with matching grafitti and broken glass, surprise, surprise. This was suppose to have represented er, colours from a Paisley Shawl or colours of thread made here in Paisley or something only a stupid Labour politician could see the similarity with. There was other completely stupid garbage passing for art that someone managed to con these numtpties into wasting tax-payers money on.

    Cumbernauld, What's it called? Another Labour run midden maybe!

  7. What amazes me is the incredible trash that comes out of these people’s mouths... and they are not even embarrassed.

    This awful looking mess is erected; it costs money that might have been spent on making a road a bit less of a disaster to drive on and they think that it will give people a new sense of confidence?

    What on Earth is he on this Mr McElroy? I mean, have you seen that town centre? The Plook on a Plinth award was well justified.

    So, just image, there you are in your town centre, looking around at these ghastly buildings and feeling downright depressed, and lo and behold, your eye alights on this “Arria” (named after a courageous but tragic figure in Roman history, if I remember right) and you think to yourself... “Ah, yes, now I have found new pride in my town. I will up and inwardly invest....”

    Or maybe you’ll just think what a pile of crap it is.

  8. CH its not art in my book, thats for sure!

  9. Dean: I'm also aghast at the incredible waste of money. I mean what can you do to Cumbernauld to make it look better?

  10. Brownlie: it doesn't matter where you put it. I am sure that before long this "work of art" will be getting all sorts of awards for all the wrong things. Just like Cumbernauld itself!

  11. I knew I'd seen it somewhere.

    The original Arria is represented in a rather more appealing sculpture "Arria et Paetus", by Pierre Lepautre and Jean-Baptiste Théodon, in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

  12. Ellie: yes its truly ghastly. I could have swallowed a load of tin cans and puked a better artwork!

  13. Allan: what a horrible thought. It does go down as a horrible artwork a bit like those two lovers in the new St Pancras station with the reptilian eyes. Yuk!

  14. Billy: I think it is Labour run yes. We had the same here in Dundee when our town was Labour run. A laughable statue of Admiral Duncan which looks like its made out of brown cream cheese which makes me cringe everytime I see it.

  15. Tris: you mean its a pastiche of something in the Louvre? Will they never learn. And that claptrap just adds insult to injury. What would the Duke of Rothesay have to say about it. No chance of anything like that in Poundbury now is there?

  16. More like in a Pound Shop Munguin.....

  17. Munguin.

    Lol hence the reason I would have to be smashed!

  18. Munguin,

    Demolish it and start from scratch

  19. Plook on the plinth - I like it. I, also, liked the various nicknames for structures in Dublin:

    Stilleto in the ghetto
    Syringe in the minge
    Stiffy on the Liffey
    The rod to God
    Floozie in the jacuzzi
    Hoor in the sewer
    Tart with the cart
    Dolly with the trolley
    Trollop with the scallop
    Dish with the fish
    Time in the slime
    Prick with the stick
    Fag on the crag

    - beat that, Cumbernauld!

  20. LOL Brownlie....

    ...where did you learn all that stuff?

    And you living the quiet life.....!!!

    tut tut!

    It seesm to me that Dublin must be full of...erm dubious statuary!!

  21. Used to work in Dublin on and off a few years ago and we'd sit with a drop of the black stuff and think of outrageous nick-names. Sadly, most of them are non-PC so could not include them.... I wonder if they've invented a suitable nickname for this. Off - the top of - my head, what about:

    Tin-can Nan
    Metal Petal
    Steele-eye Fran
    Roundabout Rita:

    Incidentally, laughed out loud at Allan's comment. I, once had an unrequited and un-responsive love affair with Bessie Braddock's statue in Birmingham but my blandishments were met with a stony stare.

  22. Ah I see Brownlie.... It's the product of a misspent youth is it?

    LOL. I'll leave you to think up names... you're obviously brilliant at it, whilst I'm crap... but I was interested in your Brimingham love life....

    Bessie Braddock.... was erm...a fine figure of a erm...well...woman.... (she was, wasn't she?)