Turner offerings baffle Dome art zone customers

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The Independent Online

The Millennium Dome soared to a higher artistic plane yesterday - and left behind many of its paying customers. The great and the good gathered to see the unveiling of the Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor's latest sculpture, the last in a series of contemporary works of art commissioned for the Dome.

Parabolic Waters, set on the riverside, spins 50 tonnes of coloured water at such a velocity that it forms a "mesmerising" concave mirror.

Nearby is Antony Gormley's Quantum Cloud, 3,500 tubes that appear to be suspended in mid-air, as well as Richard Wilson's Slice of Reality, a cross-section of a ship. Yesterday the artists were beaming, the critics entranced, and the New Millennium Experience Company staff in raptures.

But Dave Smith, from Blackpool, was unmoved. "If I made something like that I would be sacked," said the 59-year-old carpenter, missing the point of Tony Cragg's impressive geometric form sculpture Life Time .

Andrea Schlieker, curator of the collection, nevertheless believes there is hope for Mr Smith and other Dome visitors. "A lot of people are frightened of contemporary art ... We are hoping they will see these works of art without having to go to a gallery and realise it is fun."

Ms Schlieker, who with a committee that includes the art patron Charles Saatchi, spent 22 months working on the collection of seven sculptures displayed along the riverbank. There are 19 works of art in and outside the Dome, many by Turner winners.

Kapoor said: "People have been suspicious of the Dome but things are turning around ... There is a sense of being able to participate in something momentous." He was unworried about bringing his art to a wider audience. "Ninety per cent of people will get it. I have faith in people."