Campaign to save Old Flo

Jared Schiller
Nov 29, 2012 11:48PM

If you believe art is for everyone (and why wouldn't you?) the news that a London Borough plans to sell off a public work of art by Henry Moore is almost incomprehensible. The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, wants to sell Moore's Draped Seated Woman, affectionately known as Old Flo. It was bought at cost-price in the 1960s, on Moore's proviso that she was displayed in an underprivileged area. 

The Mayor, ignoring the immeasurable value of art and culture on people's lives (and the protests of locals and his fellow councillors), wants to raise £20million from the sale - a figure that will barely make a dent in Tower Hamlets' fiscal deficit. If the sale goes ahead, thousands of works in public collections across the country are at risk from this type of short-sighted action.

The artist Bob and Roberta Smith has been particularly active in the fight to save Old Flo, regularly taking to Twitter with updates and even staging an Old Flo flashmob. "For me," he says, "[the sale] is like smashing up a war memorial." 

On Friday I'm travelling with Bob to the Leeds City Art Gallery where he is giving a personal tour of their collection for the Art Fund - we'll also be making a video to help Old Flo. You can help the campaign by signing this petition.

Jared Schiller