Friday 30 December 2011

Nekkid Lady Backbone Sculpture

This week I've been earning back the car's new exhaust by tutoring on a course. I've walked through Cavendish Square each morning, and noticed an interesting sculpture.

It's a human spine. Cavendish Square is noted for the presence of the Royal College of Nursing, and it is next to Harley Street, the street for private medical practices (though I do occasionally offer a "quack quack" under my breath passing some of the clinics...). So I had a closer look.

There are 24 vertebrae there, corresponding to the seven cervical, twelve thoracic and five lumbar vertebrae. Three curvatures can be seen (perhaps a little kyphotic!), the dorsal surfaces are facing left and the ventral surfaces are facing right. But hang on a minute, those are funny looking vertebrae - I mean, my mum's had as many back operations as I've had margaritas, but even her spine is in better nick! Time to find out what's going on here.

Oh. OH. Right, it's art. Let's make a spine out of decapitated female torsos. Umm. Oh look, there's a plaque to go along with the sculpture.

I suggest that, while you read that, you grab your cheek with your thumb and forefinger and pull it in and out really quickly. That'll give you the appropriate auditory accompaniment. In that it will sound like a load of pretentious wank.

It's apparently been there since May. I'm not someone who goes crazy over art. I stood in the final hall of the Tate Britain Watercolour exhibition earlier this year shrieking indignantly at Paul: "It's a teaspoon. A fucking teaspoon. Covered in paint. For fuck's sake!" And at the Royal Academy summer exhibition I nearly took the Pink Pen of Doom to Tracey Emin's "Me Too - Glad To Hear I'm A Happy Girl" to correct "your" to "you're".

However, if pretentious arses want to produce a load of shite and get paid to do it, then more power to them. I just hope the funding for Westminster's City of Sculpture has not been diverted from other budgets. I really feel that the arts must continue to receive funding (and we happily pay for RA membership to contribute in a small way to this), but what makes me uneasy is that this festival is in aid of the 2012 Olympics, and an awful lot of money has already been siphoned from more needy budgets into this yawning black hole.

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