Appendages added to a Newmarket artwork last week without the consent of the artist or its owners have been removed.
The nine egg-shaped sculptures in Teed and Osborne Streets were transformed into lightbulbs as part of an advertising campaign for Lighting Plus, outraging the Newmarket Arts Trust which owns the artwork.
Trust spokesperson Emma Fox believed some people did not understand the furore over a "silly advertising stunt".
"But if you said to them would you go into an art gallery to put a lightbulb through a [Colin] McCahon they'd say 'well of course not'."
The 'Globgobs' by Auckland artist Seung Yul Oh were installed along the shopping precinct in June last year.
On Friday Lighting Plus removed the unauthorised alterations to the sculptures. However, at least one of the fibreglass structures has sustained some damage in the campaign and will need further restoration work.
The Newmarket Business Association was in charge of negotiations with the advertising agency which proposed the campaign and its chief executive, Ashley Church, has taken responsibility for the "desecration".
"The association will stand as the first funder behind this process. Which means that if no one else can be identified as a guilty party we will accept responsibility.
According to Church, he had been in early discussions with an advertising agency and had not given permission for the move.
However, he said he went on leave and did not properly brief his staff about the discussions, leading to some confusion.
Church says the association has received plenty of feedback about the sculptures which is "not unanimously in one direction".
"One of the interesting views that has come out of it is that there were quite a few people who quite liked it.
"But my position on it has been that that's really not the issue. The issue is that the artist's and Arts Trust's consent should have been sought in the first instance."
Church says only one of the nine eggs was seriously damaged.
"It looks like someone, probably an arts enthusiast, has tried to rip one of the posters off and in doing that has ripped some of the sealant off as well."
It is not known how much they will cost to repair, but a conservator and the artist would be involved.
The Arts Trust says despite the incident they will to promote and commission public works for the Newmarket area.
Seung Yul Oh is currently in New York on an artists residency.
His New Zealand representative, John McCormack of Starkwhite Gallery, says the artist was upset to hear what had happened but is happy to know the sculpture will be repaired and put back in place.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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