Why is it that everytime the great and good are honoured with a modern public statue the commissioners hire hacks to produce cheap and nasty depictions of their subjects. The latest in a long line of examples is a new statue honouring the late artist David Bowie, unveiled over the weekend in Aylesbury.
The artist of this kitsch repellant rendition is Andrew Sinclair MRBS
This hideous bronze statue was dedicated by 80s ‘Pop’ star Howard Jones who pulled the cord on Saturday. The poorly rendered depiction of Bowie pays homage to the artist’s Ziggy Stardust character, which was first performed in the town.
The bronze sculpture, entitled Earthly Messenger, located in the Market Square, follows other wasted artistic opportunities such as the statues of Amy Winehouse in Camden Lock and John Lennon in Liverpool.
Bowie, a former publisher of the respected Modern Painters Magazine and avid collector of Contemporary and Modern Art, deserves better. So why wasn’t a well-known ‘fine art’ sculptor selected to create the public work? This just shows the depth of not understanding the man depicted.
Bowie was also a painter who exhibited internationally. He had a particular love of Modern British art as well as the German Expressionists. His personal art collection was sold by Sotheby’s when they staged Bowie/Collector, a three-part sale encompassing over 350 works from the private collection of legendary musician. At the heart of of the sale was a remarkable group of more than 200 works by many of the most important British artists of the 20th Century, including Frank Auerbach, Damien Hirst, Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland. Not to mention two major works by the New York painter Jean-Michel Basquiat
Bowie’s famously inquisitive mind also led him to collect Outsider Art, Surrealism and Contemporary African art, as well as pieces by Italian designer Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis group. Bowie’s diverse tastes nurtured his extensive archive of important works from celebrated, and less widely-known, artists in a collection of unparalleled eclecticism.
It is baffling that money to create the memorial sculpture through grants and a £100,000 crowdfunding appeal by music promoter David Stopps has resulted in such a poor quality statue. Bowie will be turning in his grave or mischievously laughing at the remarkably awful monument.
In a show of ultimate bad taste, speakers have been mounted above the life-size piece which will play a Bowie song every hour.
The artist of this kitsch rendition is Andrew Sinclair MRBS. His bio describes him as recognised as a master of world-class figurative sculpture. His catalogue of work appears at the Royal Box at Ascot, Epsom Racecourse, and Crosby Hall (Sir Thomas Moore’s old palace) in London… certainly not Tate Britain! His sculptures range from historic bronze re-creations for public spaces and private commissions, commemorative portraits for museums and industry magnates, to fantasy sculptures such as dinosaurs and dragons.
Rob Stringer, CEO of Sony Music, described the statue as “beautiful” apparently this man has zero knowledge of art but knows what he likes!
David Bowie died of cancer, aged 69 in 2016