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Occupy Anish Kapoor: Protesters briefly take over artist's home

June 26, 2012|By Chris Barton
  • Anish Kapoor's ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, at left, under construction in East London's Olympic Park earlier this year.
Anish Kapoor's ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, at left, under construction… (Alastair Grant / Associated…)

With the Olympics only a few weeks away, the global Occupy movement has started ramping up its activities in London, and a vacant house owned by British artist Anish Kapoor was the site of a one-day protest that began Friday. 

The Mumbai-born Kapoor, whose eye-teasing pieces have become local landmarks in Chicago and outside Nottingham Playhouse in England, also created the 377-foot tall Orbit Tower in East London's new Olympic Park, a tangled mass of metal sponsored by the international steel conglomerate ArcelorMittal that looks a bit like a very stressful roller coaster.

A London-based group connected with the Occupy movement called Bread and Circuses announced the action at the five-story, Central London home with a tweet reading, "Anish Kapoor: We know where you don't live."

On a Facebook post announcing the protest, the group said its motive was to protest the Olympics as a distraction used by corporations and governments to keep the public's attention diverted from issues such as "austerity measures, the global economic crisis and the commodification of everything, even art."

The group's post went on to take issue with Kapoor's tower itself, which charges 15 pounds (roughly $23) for admission. "This is a publicly funded piece of PR for a corporation guilty of various crimes, just like the Olympics," the group said in a statement. "It is an example of how corporate power invades every aspect of our lives from sports to arts."

The group hosted what it dubbed "Weapons of Mass Distraction" last Friday beginning at 4 p.m. and invited artists, comedians and musicians to participate. A spokesman for Kapoor declined to comment, and a blogger on hand for the event estimated the crowd at somewhere between 50 and 70 people before dispersing. "The event was certainly less noisy than the nearby nightclub," he wrote.

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