Down By The Lake

“By mid-week the fuss had ensured that tourists and locals in their thousands paraded before the sightless gaze of their majesties. Then late on Thursday night, police learned the sculpture had been vandalised.
Forum coordinator Neil Roberts said the police log stated boldly: ”The Queen has lost her head and doesn’t know where to find it.”
Who Weekly May 1 1995 p.32 Off With Their Heads by Paul Pottinger“Cement Fondue was what Greg Taylor used to make his statue of the naked royals, and he coated it with iron oxide material so it would rust quickly. Active decay reminiscent of Dada, was thus built into this work, which in the space of three days, beginning with the decapitation of the queen, burst into a riveting “happening” at the center of national attention.
A knight of the realm had this to say:
“My own instinctive reaction to that offensive sculpture was to ignore it. After all, isn’t that how we are told to treat a spoilt brat of a child who deliberately makes a disgusting mess on the living room carpet, when the natural reaction might be to turn it over and spank it’s bottom? But I can understand the reaction of those who would prefer to spank the sculptor (sic) instead of ignoring him.”
Michael T. Taussig 1999 Social Science Defacement: Public Secrecy and the Labor of the Negative



If The Boots Don't Fit

“Taylor portrayed Howard standing to attention, rifle at his side, in full Anzac regalia – the Digger’s uniform, the slouch hat and the old kit bag – all of it about 10 sizes too big for the little digger.”
“Howard appeared to be swimming in khaki, his chin pointing defiantly upwards, his facial expression reflecting a state of innocent patriotic bliss. Before federal police confiscate the sculpture, television cameras and press photographers ensured Taylor’s work national exposure. The first monument to Howard had captured an essential truth about his politics: his clever exploitation of the Anzac legend.”
Mark Mckenna Patriot act The Australian June 6 2007



Called ‘If the Boots Don’t Fit’, it is reminiscent of all those noble-looking statues at ANZAC memorials across the country, but a wonderfully stunted one: the boots are like Goofy’s, the uniform baggy and oversized, the rifle held back to front and the hat worn with the wrong side up. Add in the droopy-shouldered stance and the self-satisfied expression and you have fine satire. Taylor says his artwork is intended to draw attention to Mr Howard’s “smallness” in a metaphysical, spiritual and political sense.
Unfortunately, the National Capital Authority removed it promptly the next day. And ever since, events surrounding the statue have just kept bubbling along in a very entertaining manner.
On the following Thursday, the Canberra Times reported that the statue had been found ‘behind barbed wire’, in an NCA ‘detention camp’: a storage compound in Commonwealth Park. That day Taylor was allowed to hire a crane to lift the one-tonne statue out, and by then our electricity and water company, ActewAGL, had offered to pay $2000 to charity if they could exhibit it outside their shopfront in Garema Place in the city for a few days.
Since then:
Jon Stanhope, the Chief Minister of the ACT, has said he would like the ACT to buy the statue so that even if Howard won’t live here himself, at least the statue will have a permanent home here. That is causing consternation in some quarters! Some people have suggested the people of Canberra would be willing to subscribe to a fund to buy it if that plan falls through. Meanwhile, the head of ActewAGL apologized if they had offended anyone, saying exhibiting the statue was only intended to be a bit of fun.
The letters to the editor have been vitriolic and amusing on both sides.
The Sunday Canberra Times editorialized about the value of satire, and surmised that Howard himself might have preferred the statue to be allowed to stand in the first place.
Geoff Pryor, our cartoonist, had some fun with it all.
The art critic Sacha Grishan reviewed the work and concluded that the only reason it did not fit the bill as artwork that the ACT might purchase was that it had not been commissioned.
The NCA is considering charging Taylor $850 for the removal and ‘storage’.
There were rowdy scenes in a Senate Estimates Committee when the Territories Minister expressed outrage at having his Sunday afternoon interupted by the NCA advising him of the statues removal. Also, “Senator Heffernan asked what would happen if ‘every second yobo’ wanted to erect effigies on Commonwealth land in future. ACT Senator Kate Lundy suggested the NCA could erect big fences around any open space.” ;-P.
The statue has spent last week outside the Hawker Butchery, and a sausage sizzle was held in its honour, with donations going to the charity Koomari. Tomorrow it apparently moves on to be on show outside the Kingston Hotel.
Spirits Dancing » John Howard Statue: ‘If the Boots Don’t Fit’


My Beautiful Chair

“As a member of the collaborative team (with noted Melbourne Sculptor, Greg Taylor), Philip and Greg have conceived, designed, created and installed ‘My Beautiful Chair’
A seemingly innocent brown leather armchair has become the hotseat of existential decision making.” 


CUNTS and other conversations

Download a .pdf poster for print »

September 14, 2012 |