London's Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth stays empty - for now
There are four plinths in Trafalgar Square and one of them has been empty for a while now. Many are saying that it is being left empty for when the Queen dies, but if a statue of her is placed there, it will most likely be old-fashioned and an un-welcome site (not that the English don't love their Queen of course). But what is worse is that the Queen will be on horseback, and that is just an archaic statue representation.
But as London is one of the centres of European modern art, critics are calling for a statue of comtemporary art to be placed there instead.
It would be no surprise to see a crudely designed and poorly cast model of the Queen on one of her favourite steeds cluttering up the heart of London because, while all eyes have been on temporary displays of modern art, the capital has quietly acquired some dreadful, kitsch bronze and marble "traditional" public monuments in recent years. Have you seen that ridiculous memorial to "the Women of World War II" on Whitehall with its empty overcoats, as if the artist designed it after an evening at Les Miserables (empty chairs on empty tables ...)? And how about the memorial to animals in war on Park Lane, dedicated to the soldiers "who had no choice" (unlike human conscripts in WWI?) and decorated with a hilarious procession of sculpted animals.
This is London's dirty secret. The capital is purportedly in love with modern art. It's the place people come from all over the world to see the latest, newest, toughest work. But when it comes to public monuments, there is no artistic courage here at all. Statues are constantly being put up to placate this or that interest group, in conventional and exhausted styles.
No contemporary sculptor today is making equestrian statues.
For London to have a permanent 'contemporary' statue always on the plinth would defeat the purpose of that wouldn't it? I think the whole point of the rotating statues is to showcase how modern art has a place in London's developments and galleries. There should be a statue of the Queen when she passes, but I'm not sure Trafalgar is the best place to do that.
What do you think?