BEAUTY, they say, is in the eye of the beholder.
The problem, though, for the Concept of Kentigern, a bronze sculpture which once stood on Glasgow's Buchanan Street, was that many of those who beheld it perceived only ugliness. The conceptual piece (it's based on the "bird that never flew" on Glasgow's coat of arms) was removed from public view in 2000. Known colloquially as "the Blob", it was described by the renowned sculptor Alexander Stoddart as loathsome.
Now, though, the sculpture, by the artist Neil Livingstone, is to have a shot at redemption, when it is re-shown during this year's Glasgow International festival of visual art, in a show called Reclaimed: The Second Life of Sculpture, which opens this weekend.
Public art, by its very nature, will attract more criticism than is the fate of most private commissions. It literally has to stand the test of time due to permanently being on display and the artist will often fall into the trap of trying to please too many tastes.
It is pleasing, therefore, to view the Concept of Kentigern through a new prism. It remains to be seen whether it will have an extended second life. However, it definitely deserves a second opinion.
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