From: Stephen Nelson
Category: Other stuff
Date: 21 July 2002
Sadly you will have to cast your mind back a couple of weeks to remember what had to be the saddest week for sculpture since the anti globalisation campaign give good old Winston Churchill a new coat and a Mohawk. Yes it was the week when two heads were better than one and of course who comes out of it smelling of roses Charles Saatchi. It seems in the kingdom of spin and publicity the one eyed advertising guru is the king.
I know I wanted to do it in real life for over eighteen years but I was beaten to it by theatre producer Paul Kelleher aged 37. Walking into the Guildhall gallery carrying a V600 Slazenger cricket bat he took a mighty swipe at the £50,000 statue of Margaret Thatcher. The first blow didn’t work so he picked up a metal pole that was in the gallery and smashed it against the 8ft-sculpture causing £5000 worth of damage.
Motive unknown but the vandal who represented himself in court said Mrs Thatcher was responsible for capitalism and global problems.
Personally I think the artist Neil Simmons should be held to account for damaging such a fine piece of marble.
Thatcher came out with one of her senile gems…’politics is about persuading people through reason"
This from a woman who wielded a large baseball bat with her cabinet and had wonderful persuasive powers especially with coal miners and Argentinean soldiers.
Mean while just down the road coincidentally builders who were building a kitchen fit for a domestic goddess at Charles Saatchis home managed to somehow switch of the freezer containing a kilo bag of peas and the sculpture Self. If you don’t know this seminal work it is a blood head made from eight pints of the artists blood rumoured to have cost Charles £13000 in 1991. Charles and his lovely girlfriend Nigella Lawson only noticed the mishap when they spotted a pool of red liquid oozing across the floor and guessed it wasn’t Nigellas home made cranberry sauce.
I personally still think she should have whipped the blender out and got down to some serious offal preparation.
What an opportune piece of timing.
So I was having a conversation about this to a friend of mine in the know and he say’s that the head actually got damaged in February.
So in Saatchis case we have this fantastic age old excuse " oh we’ve had the builders" in and immediately we have attention focussed on two mishaps in the same week, what a by-line I couldn’t have written it better myself. You can imagine them down in St john’s wood desperately trying to write the by-line…. Suggestion’s on a postcard to this address So Saatchi loses a valuable work of art and still manages to get tons of free publicity.
All this just to say that it all seemed far too convenient that these two be headings should take place in the same week and as conspiracy theories go it doesn’t hold much water but really even when it goes horribly wrong for the guy he somehow comes out of it all with the sweet smell of publicity on him.
Down at the bookmakers you couldn’t get odds for this chance occurrence.
So my theory is Saatchi has lost Marc Quinns work hidden at the back of a warehouse behind large tanks and jars of formaldehyde in February and he’s thinking and waiting for the moment and then all of a sudden he gets wind of the Thatcher statue being installed at Guildhall and thinks this is the moment, a sort of divine sculptural moment, after all he was the man who coined "labour isn’t working" thus starting eighteen years of Tory mis-rule.
So I reckon he’s realised the sculpture was in a liquid state and paid of our theatre produce friend to go and whack her head of there by killing one bird with one pole and gaining tons of tie in publicity for himself and his now puddle. It was after all so uncharacteristic for Paul Kelleher to behave so out of character it was in fact his first offence.
Expect Charles to lead the bidding for the new collaborative work when it’s made.
Thatcher with blood head.
So there lies my conspiracy theory and the headline reads
Saatchi hires hitman to knock a chip of the old block. Or my favourite from the Daily Mirror that I have slightly amended Saatchi responsible for Statue Tory Rape.
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