Gormley’s Touch Up – UK  

A debate rages. Is the defacement of the Sir Anthony Gormley’s famous nude statues on Crosby Beach done in the name of priggish protest or fashionable embellishment?

Someone has meticulously accessorised and spray-painted clothes on most of the 100 brass sculptures which were installed in Gormley’s 2007 exhibition, Another Place. A selection of neon-painted swimsuits, slogan graffitied wetsuits and face masks now adorn their metallic nakedness.

Gormely Vandal 1

What could be the motivation? Simply a dose of tongue-in-cheek adolescent tomfoolery; over-zealous puritans on a mission to cover ungodly genitalia, or some left-field artistic foray into anarcho-sculpture-tagging? It’s unclear to us. But we have to admit some of the designs are strangely alluring. Stylish even.


Gormley, however, isn’t impressed. As one of Britain’s foremost sculptors, he hasn’t warmed to the guerrilla uplift, intimating these unsolicited modifications are an act of vandalism and a matter for the local police constabulary.

But who’s the culprit? Rumours are rife. It’s pure conjecture at this stage, but much of the work resembles the hand of street stencilist Banksy – provocateur of the mainstream and master satirist. Could the art’s world Scarlett Pimpernel have created another genre? A new formula: Add art on top of art. Art squared.

If indeed this is the case, don’t fret Mr Gormley, the value of your portfolio just multiplied.