Wednesday 21 November 2012

Give us bread, but give us roses

So I have been pondering a question - public art or public services?

In the summer, we made our annual visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where modern and contemporary sculptures are displayed in beautiful parkland. You can wander among the sheep,  the Henry Moores and other pieces, get up close and touch them, and there are changing displays and exhibitions.

It's a great place to go with kids, plenty of space for running and cavorting, and interesting quirky art to stimulate their imaginations.

I love it there.

Wearing my recycled sari skirt, a gift from darling Vix.

So here are some pics from the summer, to give you an idea of what's on offer.

We were all completely fascinated by the giant sexy rabbit ladies!

I thought Krista would like the pink shed!

The sculpture of the woman (above right, with my girls) is a Henry Moore called Draped Seated Woman, and very lovely she is too.

Henry Moore's sculpture Draped Seated Woman

Moore sold her to London City Council in the 1960s for below her value, with the intention that she should be on public display in a deprived area, and she lived in Tower Hamlets until the 1990s, when vandalism and the demolition of the estate where she was situated prompted her move to Yorkshire, Moore's home county.

Tower Hamlets now want her back, and it has been decided that the sculpture, worth up to an estimated £20m, will be sold to offset some of the council's budget cuts which will effect public services in this poor area of London.

There are numerous articles online which tell the story, including this one.

So back to my question - art or services? Sculpture or social housing?

I don't know the answer. My head says money to help vulnerable people matters more. My heart feels sad. I want there to be the funding and the will to provide both. Is that naive?

What do you think?

Is it frivolous to show you what I was wearing today?

Well, maybe. 

But I think it's possible to be an intelligent, thinking woman and still appreciate a new frock, don't you?

Late 1970s-early 80s dress - Ebay
Blue top, belt, boots, bangles, wool hat and silk scarf - charity shopped

Life would be considerably poorer without creativity, artistic expression, and giant lady bunnies.



Fiona said...

Well, I can see both sides of the argument Curtise and my first thought was 'Tower Hamlets! some pikey's will nick it and sell it for scrap' but what a shame if Old Flo does not return as it will go against Moore's and his family's wishes.
Loving the outfit btw (very Helga, matchy-matchy) and not at all frivolous.

thorne garnet said...

interesting story. When the piece is sold, I'm pretty sure it's not going to be melted down. It's interesting that Fiona's reaction was it would be nick and sold for scrap.... by the people of Tower Hamlets? My guess is that Yorkshire is no where near Tower Hamlets, so If somebody buys it, takes it home and the money goes to housing... what's the big deal? It's not like the folks who live at Tower Hamlet are enjoying "their" sculpture now.

Sophie in the Sticks said...

I'd say that sculptures should be more of a luxury and shouldn't be instead of services. that's my two cents.
The stripy dress is very jolly, love the bold colours x

Vintage Coconut said...

Is it wrong I seen Helga humping the be-hind of the rabbit on all fours?

Those sculptures are all so awesome. I could have a ton of fun at a place like that. But I suppose I can get by on the fun it looks like you and your family had. Yes that will get me by!! =D

That dress is fabulous you look great and can NEVER go wrong with stripes. Especially blue and yellow ones.

Connie said...

Such a question!!! It is not naive to say that we need both! Why public housing has to be so damn ugly I do not know. And sculpture gardens are for EVERYBUNNY!! Life is short. We should try to make it as beautiful as possible, blue stripes & all!!

Judy C said...

The park looks like a great place to spend time. I would enjoy both the statues and the sheep. As for the money to sell the statue, it's sad to put that sort of money on something that doesn't feed anyone.

Your blue outfit is wonderful. The detail of the dress is much better than a lot of stuff coming out now.

Helga said...

Ooo, I do love some frivolity,I do!!!
I frigging LOVE this place!!! Bloody amazing stuff! How totally fabularse to have something like this. I reckon art is rather healhy for the brain, and I love to prance and pose...and even hump, as Meanie the sweetie envisaged....amongst it. There should be more of it. And we need BOTH art and housing for the vulnerable, surely! I like to think the art can be soothing to potential crims.......!!!
Love that frock, it's rather SPLENDID!
Like you!

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

It is so unfair to have to think of it in terms of either / or. The marginalization through judgement of the already marginalized - othering - and resentment of anything of aesthetic value being freely given or accessible in a welcoming way to people of limited economic means are factors I come up against a lot.

The big space, the lovely lines and shapes, and the laughing children and laughing bridge appeal to me very much. But what is your outfit's name? :) xoxo

Melanie said...

I love that small-headed Moore statue. Would it be vain of me to think I resemble it? Question: must art be big to be appreciated? I like how architecture used to integrate sculpture so brilliantly; not so much any more. Sad. We must have beauty to give us hope.

Bring on the frivolity - and how well you do it with this frock. It's a burst of sunshine. I see you swinging down the street, tossing flowers to all who pass by.

Max said...

love the YSP, i remember seeing andy goldworthy stuff there years ago and it was AMAZING. i hear there is a mark hearld exhibition on now-that i so wish i could see. dont get me started on the a**ses that think all art is rubbish getting onto councils and trying to flog it. sensibly most art donations these days are via a trust so they can never be sold to pay for dustbins and pay for councillors to go research the transport services in seattle/melbourne/outer mongolia etc...rant, rant, rant...

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

Loving the stripes.
What a difficult question to pose but in the end I would have to go with my head if there was absolutely no alternative and people were going to suffer.

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Oh you're a bolt of lightning in that field with all the joyful colour you're wearing on display ... a walking work of art! I love the bunnies and I'll bet kiddies get a right laugh at their bums:). I agree the HM is beautiful - so peaceful, sitting there surveying the land. I'm sure she's had enough of being pissed on and god knows what else smeared all over her - but art is a service though isn't it? Hmmmm ... a dilemma - people living anywhere should be allowed to gaze at beautiful things. Can't they sell her with the promise she'll continue to be part of a public landscape? Your gorgeous striped frockage is giving me goosebumps, especially with the hat, scarf and belt - you must have made the lollipop ladies jump for joy today:)). Big hugs lovely, xoxoxoxoxoxoxoox

Anonymous said...

Great dilemma, I'm a painter and I live in a city where both art is not displayed and founds for vulnerable people have not been raised, of course I prefer to give money to who needs them, lots of people is without a job!But then I watch these photos of your kids and I can see how they already enjoy art and I think that it's a need for everyone, I believe that educating the masses to culture provides to enrich them and probabily the whole society could benefit from this.It's so difficult for me to explain this in English since I wake up few minutes ago..I hope to speak about this personally one day, you always write about such interesting matters and thank you for the beautiful Old Flo statue story, the giant rabbit porn and your amazing striped dress!
Love xxxx

lucy joy said...

A bottomless pit of money wouldn't sort out the housing crisis. What's needed is to fix the problem at source. Get children and adults inspired and motivated, get them feeling confident enough to be independent and move out of the rut they're in. Is it naive of me to think art instead of syringes and dog shit is what these children need to see? Probably!
I know how much you inspire me - I want that dress. I need it. Give it to me, I'm a poor single mum who needs your charity!

You know i worked with children in Special Schools for years...the times I saw them at their most alert, happy and animated was when we had a Yoga teacher, music therapist, sensory room, farm visits and when Jonathan, a rather eccentric chap from 'The Touch Trust' came to do Aura cleansing with them. Everyone moaned about these things because their comfort zone involved the children sitting at computers or writing their name 1000 times.
Morrissey was being interviewed a couple of years back, Chiles asked him if he felt sorry for all the people out of work (because he'd been unemployed). The reply was "no - just do something creative".

That stuck with me, and I think all us bloggers can relate to that.

Very nice dress, have to end with that!

Sarah Jane said...

Such an interesting post - and no, - not at all frivilous. There must be a place for art and creativity. You have to feed the soul in order to really enjoy the beauty of life, otherwise isn't it just existence? I agree that a bottomless pit of money wouldn't sort out this particular crisis. The HM is something that should be on public display but not at the expense of itself to vandalism. It would be nice if whoever bought it chose to keep it on public display in line with Moore's wishes but I suppose that's a moral question for them. Otherwise, yes to art, theatre, creative workshops and music to keep inspiring people, especially children.

Phew! I love the pics of you and your brood enjoying the giant bunnies (with those giant arses!) and of course, I love your dress.

Thanks for thought provoking! xxxxxx

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

I love that sculpture park, it's right up my alley. Great pics. I like art that you can get up close to (like grafitti art) and frolicking amongst it is even better! Nothing wrong with a bit of frolicking I feel.

Yes, it's a shame that Tower Hamlets want to sell the Henry Moore but it is one of the most deprived boroughs in the country and it clearly wasn't appreciated when it was here (I work in TH). Like Desiree & LucyN, I hope it can still remain in the public domain.

Loving the stripey dress. xx

Unknown said...

Love the scuplters those lady bunny ones are brilliant. Im not sure what i think to ne honest im sure the artist would like his work displayed for all to see after all it must have taken months to create a piece of beauty. As long as it will be on display somewhere else once its been sold i don't see a problem but maybe im missing the point im not sure. Your looking gorgeous today love the stripes not everyone could get away with them but you do ;-) dee xx

Unknown said...

Love all those giant rabbits. Wow!

Vix said...

It would be nice if some big- hearted philanthropist bought the Moore and left it for the public to enjoy but it's probably going to be some Russian oligarch who'll cover it in pink Swarovski crystals and have it as a water feature in their penthouse.
It's a tricky one, isn't it? Liz went to Breton Hall and we spent many a joyous hour there.
I'm feeling at odds with humanity today so I'm struggling for an intelligent answer other than to stay you look bloody bostin' in your new frock and my brother would adore it as it's Leeds United colours! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Flora Cruft said...

That sculpture park is amazing. The Henry Moore so beautiful. As for your outfit, you look wonderful, very autumnal in your stripes!

karensomethingorother said...

intelligent thinking people should have enough room for compassion, good art and a really fabulous dress. I don't think that's optimism, I think that's being civilized. You look lovely in your skirt from Vix, and also extremely sharp in your recent outfit.

Krista said...

What a beautiful place to play among art! I could spend all day there! The lady bunnies are my favorite and the lil pink house of course! If Chris would let me ours would be. I never really thought about how art gets into public areas for display, I bet it varies quite a bit. I do enjoy one in downtown Portland a lot it's a huge moose HUGE and it's in the middle of an intersection. Putting a monetary value on art is what has always boggled my mind, sometimes it seems by just doing that we take away from it a little.

I love your crazy ass striped dress, it melts the gray away!

joyatri said...

It's unclear how the TH council has gotten out of the terms of the sale and will do so again by selling the sculpture. Sounds like Moore's estate could have a legal case regarding the sale.
Anyway, given my former life as a museum curator and my current profession with a nonprofit, which entails my seeing and dealing with mind-boggling cases of cruelty, I still firmly believe in the value of art and hope that the sculpture is not sold.
Frivolity is necessary to keep one sane when it looks like the world is going to hell in a hand basket. So bring on the stripey frocks and coordinated foliage collages!

Kaffesoester said...

What a sad situation for Tower Hamlets! I don't understand how it can even be an issue in a rich country such as England - we're talking about a Western European country, not an underdeveloped country in Africa or the Far East.

People need both decent housing and art. Of course one could argue that if the Moore is worth 20 Mill!?? then maybe that amount of money would cover both some housing and a less expensive piece of heavy, hard wearing, great art?

I live in a place nowadays considered a ghetto (by some people) and we have several pieces of art here. I see children playing around the sculptures just your kids, and people enjoying their coffee on summer afternoons. That's what art can do - gather people, create an atmosphere, give food for thought and conversation.

Your dress is not at all frivolous, it's gorgeous! The stripes in different directions are brilliant, and I love the colours! I'm so glad to see you paired it with brown leather, and not black. Great hat too!

Anonymous said...

I don't see why we can't have both. They seem very important to me. This is still a very rich country despite everything that's said about the country's finances.
Very jolly new dress and great recycled sari skirt.

Ivy Black said...

What a wonderful place. I am mad for public art and sculpture for the peeps.
It's a toughie, public art over social housing. In an ideal world there'd be dosh for both and public art does seem to have a positive effect on people. We need art in our lives I say. I need bid lady bunnies in my life for sure.
Love that striped frock, gorgeous and autumnal. Thank you so much for my lovely really cheered me up.
See ya later,
Plastic Baps.

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

HELLO! I have been pretty much laptopless (TAKE my damn oxygen, just not my internet!) so sorry I've not been commenting. But I seem to have temporarily stopped it from overheating using hairdryer on the fan - hurrah!'s a tricky one but shouldn't even really be an issue. SO infuriating when so much money is ringfenced and then used up frivolously for budget purposes. Our council is forever adding superfluous signs to public buildings instead of using funds for useful things.

I do like the pink shed with quote from one of my all time fave films ferris Bueller's Day off. Possibly someone else said it first, but Ferris said it best.

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

PS. Love your patchwork suede and Joni artwork - amazing. Trying to fit in loads of visits in short time frame, sorry!

Miss Simmonds Says said...

I love the giant lady bunnies too and the bridge of hysterical laughter. It's a shame the Moore had to be moved and possibly sold. It's also a shame that the sculpture will probably go to a private collector. The £20 million could go a long way. Why not commission some local artists to make several works instead? It's a thriving are for artists.
You look gorgeous as ever, that dress is great, it's quite unusual and rather a work of art in it's own right. xxx

Vicky Hayes said...

There has to be a balance. Yes of course we need to focus on people who don't have proper housing or enough to eat, although sorting out bureaucratic waste might be a start on that... I speak to people every day who tell me their creativity is a form of therapy and I agree - not sure if I could live in this mad world without it. The dress is incredible, quite incredible! Vicky x

Diane said...

It will take more than a Henry Moore to solve the housing crisis - especially in the south. Ive given it some thought and it was given on the understanding it should be displayed in the open for all to enjoy. Although I suppose once you give a gift - its up to the recipient to do with what they want. Do I don't know. All i know is that I'll miss Old Flo as I am a regular at the sculpture park - I love it.
PS I can see what you mean about Santas Moobs xxxx

silvergirl said...

thanks for sharing the pics of those sculptures
i can honestly say i have never seen anything like them
so cool
speaking of cool, that dress is just the coolest!

Annie said...

It's bad enough that Tower Hamlets are proposing to auction off the scuplture, but their arguments to support their case for doing so (if the Evening Standard is to be believed) are pretty despicable. They say the work “brought no tangible benefit to the Tower Hamlets community”, and they are “not in a position to impress the cultural elite and fat cats”, Heaven preserve us from such philistines! People NEED art, and I offer your lovely photos as evidence.
And as for a choice between art and public services, the reality is that there is no need to choose. There is a perfectly workable alternative to the ideological slash and burn policies of the scumbag Coalition, including tax justice, public investment, scrapping Trident ... I could go on.
Anyway, this is a great post, Curtise. I see absolutely no reason why a woman can't both think AND have fun with clothes. And indeed, you are a perfect example that they can! Love the striped dress, and how you're wearing a long-sleeved top underneath. I'm doing that a lot lately, it's a great way of wearing short sleeved dresses in the cold. Love the hat too! xxxx

Jean at said...

It's hard for me to comment intelligently about this specific situation, not knowing anything about it really, except I do know art inspires. It may not speak to everyone but I believe it is as essential as air for a so-called "civilized" society.

I know that in the States the gap has widened enormously between the uber-wealthy and the struggling middle class and poverty level communities. Funds are being slashed for the schools, getting rid of "non-essential" classes like art and music. I believe this is a tragedy for our country and there will be repercussions down the road. Hopefully this trend will be tempered as we move into the next four years. But it's very discouraging. I've seen first hand examples where outstanding, award winning arts teachers in challenged schools have been fired because of budget cuts. On the surface, it's the kids who lose, but really it's all of us when we lose talented young people.

I applaud you for your vibrant, artistic outfit (love this dress with the belt!!) and your loving, intelligent concern for your kids and the world at large. Someday I hope to see that amazing "art park"!!

mispapelicos said...

Housing comes always first, but the soul can only live in a beautiful dress like yours, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
It is the most perfect dess yet.
I have been looking for one like that for ages, ahhhhhhhhhhh.
Much love, my dear Curtise.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure it's a public art versus public funding question (no doubt the media has portrayed it this way), as I think it's kind of sad that art intended for public use is being sold to cover a council's budget cuts - really sad, in fact. Not that the needed funding shouldn't be made up, somehow, nor should needy people be deprived - too often it's the funding for those most vulnerable that gets chopped. But the solution does seem like a bit of an unimaginative cop-out to me (though charities sell art at auctions all the time to raise funds), especially since the sculpture WAS intended for public display. Can not elected officials come up with a better solution that could serve the public in all senses? How disappointing.

Love the 70s frock. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Hello Curtise!

Love you in the striped frock, your hat compliments it just perfectly my English sister.

You know, I think about public art often myself. Here in the Seattle area there are many displays by artists on freeway walls, cement pillars, and bulk heads, etc...most of it is just on grey cement and quite boring. I wonder why we have to spend so much damn money on roadside decor. It's a waste to me. Much different than public parks with sculpture of course, but I'd much rather see my dollars going toward programs that help people too.

Lovely to see you!

Unknown said...

I love your dress! You look great in it :)

Trees said...

I love the striped yellow and blue dress - beautiful.

Also this park looks amazing, I love the sexy lady bunnies.

I think its hard to spend public money in times when there isn't much around, but the arts are so important I think and art often does bring more art into the community and inspire people. But then, we all do need a place to live. Difficult questions the world is facing right now!

The Style Crone said...

I maintain hope that art and services can reside in harmony. I may be naive, but if so, I have always been so inclined. Both are important for a population's health.

Your display of sculptures is magnificent. As is your chic outfit! Such an artistic ensemble only magnifies your intelligence. Just as art and services are a preferred combination, so is self expression and intellectual capacity.

CityScape Skybaby said...

This is a really interesting blog and I really enjoyed reading the comments too Curtise. I can't give half as intelligent a response as a lot of others have given, but I do think you have to feed people's souls and minds as well as their bodies to have a decent healthy society. Also wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for a Liebster award, I hope you don't mind. If you' ve done loads of things like that and you're fed up of them then no worries. Xx

The Goodwill Fangirl said...

Giant sexy bunny ladies and you in that absolutely fantastic striped dress have made my brain short out.

Anonymous said...

Wow--what an amazing place. I know the poor need housing-but we as a culture are all the more poorer without the arts available to everyone.

love the new stripey frock!!

OP SHOP MAMA said...

First for the important stuff - THAT FROCK = AMAZING!!! You are the one that that dress has waited for all its life!! So mesmerized by those pix of you in that.. I wanna look cool like you :o)

Ok back to the sculpture vs housing thing... Yeh tough!! What I will say is that often the sculpture isn't appreciated by many people as it should be. There are ALWAYS complaints, and it seems impossible to please everyone with public artwork. Actually, one of my sisters-in-law used to be the public art person (the job had another name!) for the auckland city council (a third of NZ's population live up there) so we have discussed this very thing MANY MANY times!

I'm sure all the angles have been hacked out in the comments above so I won't add my 35cents in! (too tired anyway - my head hurts!)

Girl bunnies are FAB! Love them. xx

Forest City Fashionista said...

It is NOT frivolous to show off your glorious stripey dress! I do love the sculpture garden, and in an ideal world there should not have to be a choice between art and public housing. Art feeds our souls, inspires us, intrigues us, offends us and moves us, and it's absolutely necessary!

Unknown said...

i say like Mélanie - we need beauty to have hope -
Surely they could get the money somewhere else...don't you think?

But i am for help the poors - Mr D works in the humanitarian field so i know the needs are great -

Love you stripy dress, this is some dress! i like it with the belt and hat

Dawn said...

I love the bum on the sexy lady bunnies since I am an ass woman. I mean I like to look at people's butts. I know that people don't normally admit this but they look too. Anyway, really great dress on you, and your little one in the red looks just like you in the photo with just the girls. I had to look again. dawn suitcase vignettes