Self-styled art vigilantes threaten to destroy public sculptures they detest

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Public artworks are often loathed by the public, but a sculpture in Sydney has aroused an unusual degree of antipathy. A group of self-styled art vigilantes is threatening to destroy the work unless the council dismantles it.

The group, which calls itself the Revolutionary Council for the Removal of Bad Art in Public Places, has set a three-month deadline for the offending sculpture to be whisked away. If the deadline is not met, it says, the work will be defaced or destroyed.

"We have blowtorches, angle grinders and bolt cutters, and we will use them if necessary," said a spokesman, Dave Jarvoo.

The work, Stones Against The Sky, is made up of seven steel poles crowned by large artificial stones. Sydneysiders call the work, in a plaza in front of an apartment block in King's Cross, the city's red-light district, "Poo on Sticks".

The group, formed two years ago, is believed to comprise teachers and students from two nearby art colleges. Mr Jarvoo said members had written letters of complaint to the local council and submitted a petition against the sculpture, but with no success. "We are being forced to consider taking matters into our own hands," he told The Australian newspaper.

Mr Jarvoo said other works would be vandalised unless they were removed. "The mission of the council is to eradicate the disease and discomfort that bad art inflicts on the general psyche," he said.

Ken Unsworth, the artist paid about £14,000 for Stones Against the Sky, said he was unmoved by the group's threat.

"The self-appointed judges of good taste should devote their energies to their own artworks," said Mr Unsworth. "But if they want to have their fun and games, that's fine with me, as long as they enjoy themselves."

Managers of the apartment block said they would call in the police if the sculpture was attacked by vandals.