27 AUG 2014 – An innovative public art endeavour that turns under-used phone boxes into mini-art installations has turned into a street fight with the east Midlands kiosk owners threatening legal action.
Dubbed Artzelle, the summer installations featuring the art of top emerging artists came under fire recently, with the team involved accused of amongst other things criminal damage – which it denies.
The Artzelle project from Shoreditch-based Guerilla Galleries is designed to bring contemporary art to the public, with each of the pieces on show valued in excess of £75.00. Since starting the project, a number of works have been ‘liberated’, some lasting mere hours before being spirited away. But fine art on the street falling into public hands is what the project is all about, the Guerillas say. The team may now have to re-think its activities.
Cologne-based curator Silvan Gottschall (pictured right) said: “Phone boxes are monuments to a bygone era and more likely to used to answer the call of nature than to phone a friend. Artzelle encourages engagement and human interaction with street furniture that is seldom used as designed.”
A total of 84 unique works had been earmarked to feature in sites in Shoreditch, Hoxton, Kings Cross and The City of London before the Bank Holiday interruption. Offering FREE one-off prints of original work where prints are not commercially available is the gallery’s way of encouraging people to look closers at the wealth of genuine art out there, a gallery spokesman said.
“Guerilla Galleries will not and do not condone breaking the law. As always we will continue to seek new and innovative ‘legal’ ways of bringing art to the public.
We’re interested in encouraging public dialogue with living artists and sometimes you need to bring the art to the people.”
The gallery added it was always on the look out for opportunities to showcase work, but will look closer at it any association with unwelcoming hosts.
“As we’ve shown in the past we’re happy to apply a good clean and then good art to any location, but to be legally slapped and battered for beautification isn’t what you want to wake up to.”
The Guerilla Galleries Artzelle project is scheduled to continue through until 30 September.