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Angel of the North
›››› What to make of Antony Gormley's Angel of the North? Touted as "the largest angel sculpture in the world," it was erected Feb. 15 on a hillock next to a highway outside Gateshead (where the huge Baltic Flour Mills art center is to be built) in the northeast of England. At the work's inauguration for the press and local dignitaries, who were lashed by gale-force wind and hail, Lord Gowrie, departing chairman of the Arts Council of England declared the work "a piece of public art unique in the history of this country . . .› to be compared to the Eiffel Tower." It is telling that he compared it to a structure famed as a piece of engineering rather than a work of art. Its statistics are more impressive than the object itself-65 feet high with a 175-foot wingspan "as big as a jumbo jet." The work's price tag was $1.28 million.
›››› The colossal rust-colored thing just looms there, imposing but deadly dull, its steel-ribbed, featureless body saddled with curious plank-like appendages of its awkward "wings." The canny people of Gateshead, originally skeptical, especially about the cost, seem to have taken it to their hearts, and await a lucrative influx of an estimated 150,000 Angel viewers each year.