Sculptures in Storage

The maquettes for familiar public sculptures were on a couple of shelves, there were racks of paintings and even a couple of street art pieces (recent acquisitions from the Andy Mac collection auction) in the storage at the City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection. I was looking around on a tour with Melbourne Open House 2012 – the only opportunity that a member of the public has to see this archive of the city’s history.

Maquettes for Fiona Clarke and Ken McKean’s Eel Trap and Pamela Irving’s Larry Latrobe

“Where are the sculptures?” I asked at the end of the tour. I had expected to see a couple of old marble sculpture in bad repair, as Melbourne’s gardens were reportedly full of copies of classical sculpture.

“We don’t have any in storage.”

Further interrogation followed as I had read a report in the Melbourne Weekly Times about the two busts of Dante and Marconi that are in storage. They are going to the new Italian Culture Museum. There were bits of another sculpture but apart from that there was nothing in storage, it was all out on public display.

The sculptures that are no longer visible in the city are owned and stored by organizations other than the City of Melbourne. I assume that Docklands has a separate storage where they are keeping the recently dismantled “Shoal Fly By” by Melbourne-based architect/artist partnership, Cat Macleod and Michael Bellemo that was located on
Harbour Esplanade. The dock footing where the sculpture stood was unsafe and the sculpture was removed earlier this year.

Michael Meszaros sculpture “Distant Conversations” 1992 (also known as “the Telstra figures”) is no longer in the Telstra building. “In October 2009, Telstra decided after 17 years they were going to dismantle Michael Meszaros’ ‘Distant Conversations’ in order to install a Telstra shop. Needless to say the artist was distraught. Mr Meszaros sort legal advise and with the help of lawyer Dr. Mark Williams was able to save his work under the recognition of artists’ moral rights legislation. After negotiating with Telstra for a reasonable outcome Mr Meszaros was eventually able to secure a buyer for the artwork who agreed to remove, store and eventually relocate the work which is valued at over $1million.” (Public Art Around the World)

What ever happened to the de Kooning sculpture that used to stand in front of the Art Centre? What sculptures in Melbourne do you remember that aren’t there any more?

 

About Mark Holsworth

Arts administrator, artist, musician, philosopher and writer. Writes Black Mark - Melbourne Art and Culture Critic. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

2 responses to “Sculptures in Storage

  • ruben rubens

    What actually happened to the wooden sculpture of queen victoria in the edinburgh gardens? the empty plinth just begging the question. What anti-fun councillor moved the mosaic concrete sofas from brunswick st? Hows this for a story of displacement and dispossession? http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/docklands-puzzle-where-to-land-the-eagle-20110726-1hyo0.html . Where will they plonk bunjil next?

    • Mark Holsworth

      Thanks Ruben, I haven’t heard of the wooden sculpture or the issue of where to locate Bruce Armstrong’s eagle in the mess of Docklands – I must keep an eye on this. It gets more complex because of the many different owners of the sculpture from the City of Melbourne to the Vic Roads. The City of Yarra is responsible for the mosaic concrete sofas on Brunswick Street – I think that there were some other issues involved in their small move to the corners of the side streets.

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