Shrouded Plinth – Urban Striptease

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I was passing through Trafalgar Square this morning and caught the unveiling ceremony of Thomas Schuttes 4th Plinth sculpture – Model for a Hotel 2007. The sculpture itself is ok, but I was really taken with the billowing shroud suspended from a crane that wreathed the plinth before the unveiling. It’s a device for a certain kind of urban striptease – what one might call a ‘mechanical strip machine’ – though once revealed, the naked artwork will remain on its stage for another 18 months rather than vanish. In traditional burlesque, the artist disappears once they have disrobed, as Roland Barthes pointed out (after what was probably extensive research in the field).

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