FEARING a repeat of previous arts debacles Vincent council has deferred a $100,000 spend on new sculptures for North Perth’s town centre.
A minor arts world furore erupted two years back when the council pledged to pay Matt McVeigh $30,000 for his artwork AAG, a colourful abstract figure.
But when it came time to build it the council figured it’d have to be sturdier so it sent him off to redesign it. When the council still didn’t like what he was coming up with, it used the cash to instead pay for part of the $60,000+ Chen Wen Ling sculpture “Games”.
The whole controversy meant that instead of the usual big public ribbon-cutting ceremony for Games there was a self-conscious silent opening, with arts committee minutes quietly noting there was no need for a formal launch.
And while Beaufort Street’s rabbit and dog on a bike is hugely popular, when it launched it was notably flimsy: “You could rock it back and forth,” acting mayor Ros Harley recalls, and the next day fences went up and reinforcing rods were installed. “It was unsightly and a little bit embarrassing.”
Now with three new choices of art for North Perth on the table, councillors want structural integrity reports before even thinking about approving them.
The work favoured by staffers raised councillors’ eyebrows, with curious cute figures supported by spindly toothpick legs that looked dangerously alluring to vandals.
It was deferred for a month and public art may be relocated to Angove Street instead.
by DAVID BELL