How not to make public art

Read J.J. Charlesworth, from the April 2014 issue

David Shrigley, Really Good. Photo: © James O Jenkins. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London Hans Haacke, Gift Horse. Photo: © James O Jenkins. Courtesy the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

What do Hans Haacke and David Shrigley have in common? The former is one of the godfathers of political conceptual art, the latter one of Britain’s finest exponents of art as a vehicle for existentially absurd deadpan humour – so not much, you’d think. But both of them have just been commissioned to produce sculptures for Trafalgar Square’s ‘fourth plinth’ – the otherwise vacant pedestal at the northwest corner of London’s most well known public space, which over the last…

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