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Art, Public art Southbank
Ron Robertson-Swann - Vault (1978)
Photograph: Creative Commons

Time Out says

This work is better known by its not-particularly PC nickname – ’Yellow Peril’ – and might just be the most controversial public art in Melbourne. Created by Sydney artist Ron Robertson-Swann, the abstract sculpture was created for Melbourne’s City Square, the plaza between Melbourne Town Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral that’s currently closed for the construction of the new Town Hall station. Its minimalist style attracted plenty of criticism from the local media, who thought its price tag of $70,000 was totally unreasonable. Even Queen Elizabeth II – who opened the City Square in 1980 – apparently made a suggestion that it was too yellow and should be painted “a more agreeable colour”.

The sculpture moved to its current position outside the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Southbank in 2002, where it still stands. And we have to say, it looks pretty wonderful against a backdrop of rusted steel. Maybe Her Majesty should take another look next time she’s in town.



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