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Editions

Irish joke over ‘our’ cow

02 Nov 2011

John Kelly’s ‘Cow up a Tree’ has caused a stir in Ireland where a local council has apparently paid €20,000 for the privilege of displaying a copy of the statue for 15 weeks to attract Christmas shoppers.

The Cork Independent reports that Cork City Council management has “cheesed off” a number of councillors with its plan to display Cow up a Tree outside the Cork Opera House to draw visitors into the city.

The artist now lives in Cork and is reported to have sold the “image rights” to the sculpture to the council for €20,000 in 2008.

The Cork Independent says the sculpture “has been a huge success across the world”.

It reports that: “it was displayed on the Champs Elysées in Paris in a distinguished French museum while another edition is permanently on display in the Melbourne Docklands.”

Cork is getting the Paris version of the sculpture and the artist is helping with the 15-week installation.

The newspaper reports: “The proposal has been met with widespread criticism in Cork, and some have called it more of a ‘Pig in a Poke’.”

Online Cork Independent readers have been having fun with the row, with one reader labeling the spending an “udder disgrace”.

City manager Tim Lucey is reportedly unrepentant saying the Cow up a Tree was “iconic in Paris, Melbourne and worldwide”.

“Cork City Council purchased it three years ago and we have been waiting for the opportunity to put it on display. It will draw people into town from the Grand Parade, it will be a unique opportunity in this country. I make no apology for using it,” he is reported saying.

The various councillors are reported to have mixed views: Fianna Fáil Cr Tim Brosnan stated that he did not have any “hand, act or part” in this. As a member of the Arts Committee Cr Chris O’Leary said he had never heard of this. “Hearing this at the 11th hour is not good enough,” he said.

Workers’ Party Cr Ted Tynan asked whether there was value for money with the proposal. Fianna Fáil Cr Kenneth O’Flynn couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. “We have a piece of art and now we are complaining about it. We are a city of arts and a former European Capital of Culture, this proves it,” he said.

Labour Party Cr Michael Ahern added: “Kids will be fascinated by this, it will put the focus on Cork City.”

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