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Friday, 9 February, 2001, 12:28 GMT
Dome art goes home
The Dome
The Body Zone greeted visitors to the Dome
Artworks commissioned for use in the Millennium Dome during its 12 months in existence are being returned to the artists.

The pieces will not remain in the Dome when the new owners take over, nor will they be sold off as part of an auction of the tourist attraction's contents.

Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley is one of Britain's most respected sculptors
Some of the world's most respected artists produced sculptures and installation pieces to be used in and around the Dome site in Greenwich, south London during 2000.

Artists such as Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor created works which were commissioned by the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC), which ran the dome.

'Lack of respect'

But the return of the sculptures marks the end of what has been described as a "sorry year" with accusations that Dome officials showed little sympathy for the needs of the artists.

Richard Cork, critic for The Times and a member of the commissioning sculpture group at the Dome, said artists had been given "an appalling lack of respect".

He said works such as Tony Cragg's Life Time was "largely obscured by yellow litter bins".

Tacita Dean's Friday/Saturday was used as a "stacking depot for plastic chairs" while Anish Kapoor's Parabolic Waters was "drained and boarded off with rudimentary metal fencing" less than a week after it had been unveiled.

The NMEC reportedly paid about 250,000 for construction costs of the sculpture by Kapoor.

'Dignified setting'

Curator Andrea Schlieker, who organised the outdoor programme at the Dome, said: "I wanted to ensure that the sculptures were in a dignified setting, but as soon as the Dome opened it was clear that the reverse was true."

A booklet detailing the art and their locations ran out after three weeks and was never reprinted.

Most of the artworks will be returned to the artists themselves or galleries which represent them.

The Dome is expected to be bought for 125m by Legacy, which aims to turn the Dome into a technology and office park.

No-one from the New Millennium Experience Company was available for comment.

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