Henry Moore models come to Museum of London Docklands
13 December 2012
Museum of London Docklands today opened a new display, ‘Henry Moore and the East End’, about the history of Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman, the sculpture known as Old Flo.
This display follows a controversial decision by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets to sell Old Flo rather than display the artwork in a public space for residents to enjoy, as the artist intended. This decision is being contested by the Museum of London Docklands which has offered to house Draped Seated Woman for the public to enjoy for free. This campaign is supported by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate Gallery, Bob and Roberta Smith, a leading British artist, as well as The Henry Moore Foundation and the Art Fund.
‘Henry Moore and the East End’ gives a historical perspective on Old Flo, giving a glimpse into 1950s East London and a sense of why public art was considered an important aspect of housing developments at the time. The display also contains a series of maquettes, or scale models, created by Moore to visualise and test the artwork ahead of production. These models give Londoners the chance to see Old Flo, albeit in a scaled-down form, as the artwork is currently housed at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield. Visitors to the Museum are encouraged to leave their own views on the sale or display of Old Flo.
Francis Marshall, Museum of London’s Senior Art Curator, said:
“London has a long history of public art from Nelson’s Column to the Fourth Plinth, including Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman which was originally on show at the Stifford Estate in the East End. All of these works of art, in their different ways, add to the culture of London. Some have even become symbols of the city. They prompt debate, they amuse, they inspire. As the saying goes, what’s not to like?”
Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, said:
“I firmly believe the decision to sell is wrong. Bringing Old Flo back to the East End is not only the best decision in the public interest, it’s also the most viable option for the sculpture. Most importantly I believe that the residents of Tower Hamlets should be able to decide for themselves. Our new display, ‘Henry Moore and the East End’ provides an accessible way for local people to understand and engage with the Old Flo debate, as well as giving them a voice in the discussion.”
An online exhibition about the history of Old Flo is available on www.museumoflondon.org.uk/oldflo and people are encouraged to tweet their views with the hashtag #saveoldflo.
The Museum of London will launch a pop-up Old Flo exhibition in January in collaboration with Bob and Roberta Smith.