Helen Nisbit, Art Consultant at the Contemporary Art Society has announced the shortlist for a new sculpture commission to replace the stolen Hepworth bronze, taken from Dulwich Park in December 2011.
The work, one of six casts titled Two Forms (Divided Circle) made in 1969, was acquired by the Greater London council in 1970 and transferred into the ownership of Southwark council when the GLC was abolished. The sculpture was only insured for £500,000, a fraction of the true value of the work on the open market. Hepworth made the piece in the late 1960s when she was producing large sculptures that were trying to involve the viewer in some way. She once said of it: “You can climb through the Divided Circle – you don’t need to do it physically to experience it.” “The theft of this important piece of 20th-century public art from Dulwich park was devastating. The theft of public art and metal has become a sickening epidemic in the last few years.
The commission shortlist includes. Turner Prize nominee Anya Galaccio, Ryan Gander, who won the Zurich Art Prize, Conrad Shawcross and Eva Rothschild. Helen Nisbit, art consultant at the Contemporary Art Society, said: “The brief for the shortlisted artists was the work must be permanent, so the material has to be durable, but it shouldn’t be made out of metal.” She also stated; “There are still fears around public art work and we don’t want it stolen,” adding there was a small budget for extra security.
Founded in 1910, the Contemporary Art Society exists to encourage an appreciation and understanding of contemporary art by a wide audience and to donate works by important and new artists to museums and public galleries across the UK.
Each year the society donates new works of modern and contemporary art to 65 museums and public galleries in the UK, which subscribe as `Museum Members’. They purchase new works by artists of the current generation who are attracting national and international attention early in their careers, and broker donations of works of modern and contemporary art from our network of private collectors and philanthropists for museums and their audiences.
In order to donate works responsibly, these activities are strengthened through the `National Network’ which offers professionals working with modern and contemporary art collections, a programme of specialist events, seminars, conferences and research, where knowledge, networks and skills are developed to ensure the most dynamic and accessible use of collections for audiences nationally.