Bournemouth, Christchurch and Pool Council have ordered the cover-up of a controversial artwork on Boscombe beach.
Initially, Cold War Steve’s large 25-metre-long curved windbreak conveyed two opposite sides of society.
As of 25th September, visitors to Boscombe beach have been greeted by the artist’s good side, whereas the ‘dark’ side can only be viewed online.
Cold War Steve, whose real name is Christopher Spencer said: “It is a celebration and hopeful piece about the UK (with some local heroes included too), looking at the values that make us great – inclusivity, compassion, diversity, charity and creativity; whilst the censored ‘other side’ deals with the dark underbelly of our society, the movements of intolerance, hatred and division – issues that should never be ignored, let alone covered up. “
The darker, dystopian side of the windbreak included many famous faces including Vladimir Putin, Rupert Murdock, naked Boris Johnson, and Nigel Farage as worm amongst the chaos scenes.
Specialising in surreal, satirical Art made initially on his phone, Christopher Spencer is well known for his collages. He has three solo exhibitions, books, commissions for the National Galleries of Scotland, the Whitworth in Manchester, the Birmingham Museum and Gallery, a giant billboard installation at Glastonbury Festival and an international TIME magazine cover under his belt.
His work at the Boscombe beach is part of a Cold War Steve’s ongoing venture to take his work out into the outside world again. Across September and October, he will be revealing four outdoor artworks, two still waiting to be displayed in Coventry and Liverpool. All pieces will be free for everyone to visit.
Councillor Mark Howell, Acting Leader of BCP Council, said: “Art should evoke emotion and create debate and we are committed to supporting the arts and creative sector including supporting challenging work. Artists are free to produce controversial work, and doing so often increases their profile.
“However, as a council, we have a duty to protect the reputation of our towns and their residents, and not to give the perception that we support any particular viewpoint.
“We are pleased to have participated and contributed to the artistic debate around Cold War Steve’s exhibition for Bournemouth but stand firm by our decision to not permit the showcasing of the dystopian side of the artwork on the beach, as there is a perception it portrays Bournemouth residents and the town in a negative light.
“At a time when we need people to work together, we feel that displaying the image in question would risk further division amongst the public.”
For more information on what is on at the festival, please visit: https://artsbythesea.co.uk/