Thought Leaders: Anish Kapoor and the Hubblebubble

A memorable modern art project for the 2012 Olympic site brings forth the inevitable rage against the new. And a throwaway remark by a politician may have secured it a popular name

Boris Johnson, mayor of London has a way with words. It was on evidence this week in the unveiling of the proposed 115 meter high tower which will attract visitors to the East London site of the 2012 games.

In a thoughtful analysis in The Guardian, Boris Johnson conceded that some people would say that

“we are nuts, we are barmy in the depths of a recession to be building Britain’s biggest ever piece of public art … Some may choose to think of it as a Colossus of Stratford, some eyes may detect a giant treble clef, a helter-skelter, a supersized mutant trombone. Some may even see the world’s biggest ever representation of a shisha pipe and call it the Hubble Bubble. But I know it is the ArcelorMittal Orbit and it represents the dynamism of a city coming out of recession, the embodiment of the cross-fertilisation of cultures and styles that makes London the world capital of arts and culture.”

Immediate reactions

Immediate reactions from the public were predictably polarized:

It looks rather like the mutant love child of a triffid and some scaffolding.

It looks like a prolapsed uterus.

Seriously, this one of the most misguided and grotesque attempts at public art I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of them. We’re going to regret this one; count on it. This isn’t salvageable like the Wobbly Bridge (the last time that we had famous architect, egomaniac artist and a huge pile of money in the same room). This will be ‘Hyde-Park-Diana-Fountain’ level of screw-up, only this time with famous engineer, witless politician, egomaniac artist, and creepy bond-villain industrialist as the cast of characters.

In view of the difficulty remembering the formal title, The ArcelorMittal Orbit, I have a feeling that the landmark will become known as the Hubble Bubble. That of course, assumes that the project will not fall foul of financial or political difficulties

One Response to Thought Leaders: Anish Kapoor and the Hubblebubble

  1. ch53ecc says:

    What a great piece of work for London – whether or not it is “art” is up to the beholder (just like beauty). What it will definitely do is spark conversation and engage people in contemplation & discussion. I look forward to my first trip to the top!

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