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Criticisms Rise over Selling of Public Art in London Borough

Posted: Nov. 9th, 2012  |  By Michael Pearse

Henry Moore's 'Draped Seated Woman,' a public art installation in a borough of London is getting prepped to sell and will likely bring in around $32 million to an area that is riddled with a $144 million deficit. Though it could help the borough significantly on its financial front, residents and art lovers see the selling as painting public art in a light of asset-only rather than what its meant to be: art and art alone.

A debt-stricken district of London is to sell a sculpture gifted to the local area by celebrated artist Henry Moore, prompting fierce criticism and raising questions over the future of other publicly owned artworks amid austerity cuts.

The mayor of Tower Hamlets one of the poorest areas of Britain decided late Wednesday to sell the 8-foot Henry Moore bronze statue "Draped Seated Woman" as the borough council tries to cut a deficit of $144 million.

It is thought the sale of the sculpture could raise up to $32 million for the council. Independent mayor Lutfur Rahman over-ruled the concerns of a committee of politicians to order the artwork be auctioned to the highest bidder.

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Carol Driver
A journalist with more than 12 years' experience writing, subbing and editing at national and regional publications and websites in the UK.

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