The Top Ten: Public art


John Rentoul@JohnRentoul
Sunday 02 November 2014 01:00

Most public art is horrible, in my philistine opinion (the Philistines being a maligned and cultured people), usually made bearable only by the greater awfulness of the modern architecture around it. But some of it is good. War memorials are in a category of their own, see below.

1. 'Out of Order' (1989) By David Mach. The "domino phone boxes" in Kingston- upon-Thames. "Not spectacular or meaningful, but fond memories," says Katherine Drayson.

2. Michelangelo's 'David' (1504) Linda Smith says it was originally conceived as public art and is therefore "hard to beat". She is right.

3. 'Skin 2' (2010) By Mehmet Ali Uysal. A giant clothes peg in a park outside Liège, Belgium. Nominated by Simon Potter and identified by Neil Jefferies.

4. Statue of Liberty, New York (1886) This 93m-high symbolic figure was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Nominated by Clive Davis.

5. 'Freedom' (2000) By Zenos Frudakis. Outside GlaxoSmith-Kline's head office in Philadelphia. A naked man emerges in stages from a wall of bronze.

6. Trafalgar Square Lions (1867) By Sir Edwin Landseer.

7. 'Winston Churchill', Parliament Square, London (1973) By Ivor Roberts-Jones. Nominated by Sir Michael Barber and by Jack Evans, who says: "I love the way he looks at Parliament in such a scathing way."

8. 'The Bull' in the Bullring, Birmingham (2003) Actually titled The Guardian , a 2.2m-high bronze sculpture of a running, turning bull, created by Laurence Broderick. Nominated by Andrew Denny.

9. Stanley Matthews statue at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent (2001) Three figures made by a team of local sculptors. Nominated by C Keeling.

10. 'Conversation à Nice' (2007) By Jaume Plensa. Seven seated figures on 12m-high poles in Massena Square in Nice, France. Nominated by Helen Catt: "They're not exactly pretty but they are quite striking."

Next week: War memorials

Coming soon: Countries that used to be 'the' (such as Ukraine). Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to

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