Adrian Hamilton: This redefines art, but not in a good way

Click to follow
The Independent Online

There are two simple rules of public patronage of the arts. One is that, if you do it for a social or political purpose, it will fail. And the second is that if you hand over the actual commissioning to the Arts Council it will produce the very worst art.

And so it is proving with the Arts Council awards for the regional projects to accompany the 2012 Olympic Games. Each will involve the communities, each will represent their place and each will be truly awful.

Giant puppets, crocheted lions, football matches for amateurs – all chosen for the very best reasons that have nothing to do with art, its creation or purpose.

Ever since the Olympic Games were first awarded to London the art world has complained at the diversion of lottery funds to this enterprise.

Now they've got a £5.4m pot and this is what has been done with it. The pieces, declares Moira Sinclair, executive director of the Arts Council England, will "redefine what public arts will mean in 2012". On that at least she's dead right.