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Monumental failures

From Henry Moore to Giacometti, modern sculpture has seldom produced successful public monuments. Norbert Lynton is pessimistic about Antony Gormley, but not about David Nash

By Norbert Lynton   October 1996

I too have been losing sleep over that empty plinth in Trafalgar Square. You will recall that Prue Leith, of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce, invited suggestions for filling it. Baroness Thatcher? Another Nelson, i.e. Mandela? The Queen? The Beatles? A Damien Hirst? The corresponding plinth, in the northeast corner of the square, is occupied by Chantrey’s equestrian monument of George IV, intended for the top of Marble Arch, but here wholly disregarded. Rumour has it that Her Majesty and the prime minister favour a novel solution, post-modern perhaps: a different statue each year,…

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