Australian Artist Takes To Facebook To Claim Sydney's New Giant Milk Crate Sculpture Is A Clone Of His Work

Victorian artist Jarrad Kennedy has taken to Facebook to claim the giant milk crate Sydney is about to pay $2.5 million for is similar to his artwork.

Three public artworks were revealed by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore on Wednesday, including local artist Hany Armanious’s giant 13.7 metre high milk crate, ‘Pavilion’, which the council is installing in Belmore Park, near Central Station.

In the Facebook post below Kennedy compares Armanious’ concept to his McClelland Sculpture Prize entry from 2005.

On his blog, Kennedy has written a post about using milk crates as sculpture inspiration back in 2002.

He also documented his award entry on the blog in December 2005.

“With the help of my brothers carpentry skills, we slowly constructed the 3mx3mx3m work over three months. The interior was 2.4 metres in height to echo the regulation suburban ceiling height,” Kennedy wrote.

In 2006, art critic Robert Nelson reviewed Kennedy’s work in The Age, saying “Jarrad Kennedy pays similar homage to a popular image in his Court, which is a paradoxical title for a giant inverted milk crate. The extruded plastic construction has been interpreted in wood, so that it resembles a kind of pergola or walk-in timber gazebo. Once inside, the architecture loses all sense of a crate, as a robust domesticity displaces any frisson of illegality of stolen commercial property.”

Kennedy also comments on his Facebook page that he will be contacting the artist directly and is seeking legal advice.

The City of Sydney’s curatorial advisor Barbara Flynn said the artworks were selected by members of its evaluation panel after an international call out for submissions.

The panel included City of Sydney design director Bridget Smyth, Carriageworks director Lisa Havilah, Professor of Architecture at UNSW Richard Johnson, artist Janet Laurence, and curator Anne Loxley.

“They are all highly respected and renowned in their field. They made a unanimous decision on the winning artworks,” Flynn said.

“The City is confident that Hany Armanious’s Pavilion is an original artwork consistent with his practice of artistic excellence. The artist has assured us he was unaware of the existence of this particular Melbourne artwork.

“The City requires artworks to be original work and to not infringe the intellectual property rights of any person.”

McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery director Robert Lindsay told Business Insider the work which was on show at it’s 2005 art survey for about seven months “would’ve got a fair bit of exposure”.

He said there were about 100,000 visitors through the exhibition over the period and both Kennedy’s and Armanious’s works are similar – both in terms of subject matter and scale.

“He’s entitled to claim he did do a sculpture first and deserves to be recognised,” Lindsay said. “He’s entitled to be recognised of producing a work of similar subject and similar scale.”

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