Cheeky Vandal Spray-Paints Swimsuits on Antony Gormly’s Nude Iron Men

The graffiti appears to be the work of someone named Mokie.

Antony Gormley, Another Place (2005) at Crosby Beach. Courtesy of Sefton Council.

Since 2005, visitors to Crosby Beach, north of Liverpool, have shared the space with nude sunbathers: Antony Gormley’s Another Place statues, 100 casts of the artist’s body affectionately known as the Iron Men. Vandals have recently struck the popular public art installation, however, spray painting clothing on nine of the figures.

The artworks are scattered over two miles of coastline, placed at the water’s edge so that they become submerged during high tide. In the years since the initial installation, barnacles have begun growing on some of the pieces, and beachgoers have often taken to “dressing” the figures up with clothing. Such decorations are harmless and easily removed, and the barnacles are a natural part of the work’s evolution.

In contrast, the new coat of paint defaces the sculptures, and appears to be permanent. Several of the statues are marked with the name Mokie.

Some members of the public don’t see the new additions to the statues as a problem. The Another Place sculptures are “brilliant and they have already evolved within their installation by growing barnacles and rusting, painting them is just a further stage for them,” a reader named Letty Draper told the Liverpool Echo.


Samantha Anderson was more sympathetic to the artist, pointing out that “you wouldn’t walk in to a gallery and draw a smiley face on a painting or sculpture.”

For his part, Gormley is not pleased. “We have been contacted directly by Mr Gormley with a view of removing these permanent decorations,” a spokesperson for the local council in Sefton told the BBC.

Originally planned as an 18-month exhibition, local government voted to keep the artwork on view permanently in 2007.

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