Without even attempting to contact the internationally-acclaimed artist Francoise Schein, Coventry City Council has proposed demolition of Time Zone Clock, the major site-specific public artwork in LEDs and aluminium commissioned for Millennium Place as the centre-piece of Coventry's Phoenix Initiative. The Council is currently testing public opinion on its intention to remove the work, as it will be using the public space increasingly for large-scale public events and celebrations such as the Royal Wedding and the 2012 Olympics, for which a Big TV Screen has been erected. Time Zone Clock has been deemed a slip hazard for such events.

The contract between the City Council and the artist clearly states that it must contact her and negotiate any proposed modifications, amendments or removal of the Work and in case of exceptional or unavoidable reasons for removing the Work permanently, its agreement to commission a replacement work by the artist. The City Council is thus already in breach of contract by not attempting to contact the artist to discuss the situation.

Vivien Lovell, curator of the Phoenix Public Art Programme when Director of Public Art Commissions Agency (now Director of Modus Operandi) has written to the City Council reminding them of their contractual obligations and suggesting a meeting to negotiate the position. No meeting has been suggested, no contact with the artist has been done.

Apart from the contractual position, this case puts Coventry City Council in an extremely negative light in terms of its lack of respect for artists and for the important series of artworks in The Phoenix Initiative, which has won numerous awards including the British Urban Regeneration Award, the Most Liveable City Award and the short-list for the Stirling Prize, and placed the city on the international map. Sir Richard MacCormac is the architect for the entire project.

Françoise Schein

Association Inscrire
114 rue de Bercy
75012 Paris France
tel +331 44 67 03 97
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