Burning boats and spilt milk: England's unusual art projects

King Kong and Blackpool Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It remains to be seen if the show will see the killer gorilla climb the town's famous tower

This week it was announced that Blackpool is to stage a "reimagining" of the King Kong story, funded through a £680,000 Arts Council grant. BBC News takes a look at some of the council's more unusual projects.

Rubbish or challenging?

Image caption Do you see beauty in this bin?

David Batchelor's neon-lit skip was installed in a Brighton square as part of the city's annual festival in 2012.

The artwork was funded by a £94,000 grant from the Arts Council, and its unveiling divided opinion.

Responding to the question of whether the installation constitutes art, one spectator marvelled: "I worked in the construction industry for about 40 years, and as far as I'm concerned that's a skip."

Meanwhile, arts journalist Jonathan Jones described the installation as a "very elegant work of art."

'Hang on a Minute...'

Image copyright John McNaughton
Image caption Tipping over the edge

Arts Council England awarded a grant of £50,000 to install a bus seemingly balanced on top of the De La Warr Pavilion in Sussex.

The exhibition, titled 'Hang on a Minute Lads, I've Got a Great Idea', was installed in July 2012 and inspired by a scene from the film The Italian Job in which a coach swerves off the road and balances precariously on a cliff edge.

The art bonfire

Image caption The Manchester Artists' Bonfire first took place in 2011

About 30 artists burned their work in what the organisers described at the time as "a research project into art and activism" that allowed local artists to "collaborate and discuss art in a direct way."

Arts Council England gave the Manchester Artists' Bonfire £3,000 of National Lottery money in 2012 and said the project would support emerging talent and provide an opportunity for audiences to have a stimulating debate.

Some, however, criticised the amount of funding given to the art work.

One person tweeted "I'll do this for 3k!! A match costs how much?', while another person tweeted "I wonder if I get 3k every time I fire my kiln."

The burning boat that sank

Image copyright Simon Faithfull
Image caption The boat slowly sank in Ringstead Bay, near Weymouth

A disused fishing boat was set alight and left to sink off the Dorset coast in August 2014.

Arts Council England awarded artist Simon Faithfull a grant of £34,240 towards the project, which included five underwater webcams being installed on the boat to broadcast its sinking on the internet.

Mr Faithfull said the onboard cameras would reveal the boats' "gradual transformation into an artificial reef."

"It makes your heart sink," declared the Daily Mail, who slammed the artist for, they claimed, wasting taxpayers' money.

Art critic Sarah Kent, however, praised the project and said "the moment the boat is swallowed up still carries an emotional punch."

'Clockwork' tree

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWinding up to wind down? The clockwork tree in Griezdale Forest

The Clockwork Forest is an interactive installation which can be wound up and plays music.

The musical tree in Grizedale Forest, near Hawkshead in the Lake District, was funded by the Forestry Commission. It was awarded a grant from the Arts Council of £95,000 in 2012 to develop a series of public artworks - The Clockwork Forest being one of them.

One visitor to the forest described the musical tree as 'amazing', while another said it was 'a gentler form of human impact.'

No point crying over spilt milk

Image copyright Press Association
Image caption Would you like milk with that? 5,000 litres of milk made up Martin White's 2006 art project

A Devon artist poured out 5,000 litres of milk at a former dairy farm and left it to turn sour in 2006.

Martin White, whose project was aptly named spilt milk, said the work was a comment on the pressures faced by dairy farmers.

The milk was left in a giant 30ft Petri dish at Middle Rocombe Farm in Stokeinteignhead, and after a week it was said to resemble a "giant custard tart".

Mr White received a £2,545 Arts Council grant to buy and dispose of the milk.

Commenting on the later crust-like appearance of the milk, Mr White said: "It's a reminder of what a complex matter milk is."

A spokesman for the Arts Council said: "Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us, encouraging discussion and debate. We have a number of processes in place to ensure the work that we do fund does all of these things and more, to ensure that it delivers the best possible value for public investment. "

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