It is surely time to draw a line under David Mach’s sculpture, and remove it from the Esplanade.
Put simply, it hasn’t worked.
When Morrisons was developed, councillors insisted on a piece of iconic art, perhaps without understanding what exactly that meant in the first place.
The brief certainly sounded exciting – a piece of drift wood filled with tacks which would catch the headlights of passing cars – but the reality was something else indeed.
Public art only works when people embrace it and make it their own. The Angel of the North is one example of how to do it well.
The sclupture does neither the waterfront, or Mach, any favours.
His work enjoys an international reputation, and he has delivered some outstanding pieces of work – imagine one of his massive heids on the waterfront? Now THAT would have a wow factor!
It is three years since we reported that the Phantom – to give it its Sunday name – was crumbling.
This week fences were put up on either side to keep people away, and our reporter saw up close that the materials are simply falling off.
It was meant to weather, not deteriorate to the point it needed to be put behind a metal barrier.
Clearly someone has to make a quick assessment on what needs to be done, but there is also the issue of who pays for any remedial work. In short, who is responsible for it – the council, the store or the artist?
That should have been nailed down the moment it was installed.
While that debate continues, the solution, to us, is simple. Remove it and start again.
Public art should be a key part of the transformation of our waterfront – we have a fantastic blank canvas just waiting for some colour and inspiration.