Lizza Lane gives you her thoughts on Blackpool’s newest and most controversial art installation.

The new art exhibition which has arrived in Blackpool’s Grundy Art Gallery has become the centre of debate since its opening last week. The exhibition, named ‘Doug Fishbone and Friend’s Adventureland Golf’ is a nine-hole crazy golf, with each work created by different artists. Each hole represents an aspect of life, all with a (possibly ironic) overtone of fun.

However, there is one hole which has caused quite a storm. It features none other than Adolf Hitler! The figure was created by Jake and Dinos Chapman, London-based visual artists who tend to focus on the offensive and taboo in their works. Judging by their portfolio (I urge you to look them up!), this one is definitely kind! The hole requires the audience to shoot towards Hitler’s sensitive area. With each successful shot, Hitler raises his arm in the Nazi salute while voicing, ‘Nein, nein, nein!’ Though this may sound abstract or a little shocking to some,  the whole Adventureland Golf backdrop is inspired by Blackpool’s family friendly entertainment and traditional holiday fun.

The head of The Board of Deputies of British Jews, Mr. Michael Samuels, has claimed the organisation has taken offense. Mr. Samuels has deemed it  ‘tasteless’, with ‘no artistic value whatsoever’ which has ‘nothing to do with Blackpool, or modern art’. His outcry has sparked issues over creating figures of the feared and infamous, and the disrespect to those that fought in WWII. But, should the artwork be taken differently to other Nazi- related works, such as The Ministry of Funny Walks, or certain episodes of Dad’s Army?

Mr. Samuels has also claimed that the Blackpool gallery has ‘stooped’ to show an item like this. Speaking in The Guardian he stated that this kind of exhibit would only be in Blackpool. However, a mixture of a wet summer and plain curiosity has driven people away from the seaside to the indoor pitch and putt. You’ll be pleased to know that the exhibition has been extremely popular due to the media stir, and has been taken well in jest by its visitors – phew! This proves that Blackpool really does welcome and appreciate modern art, and we like to have a giggle at it too.

Also featured in the crazy golf is a figure of the statue of Saddam Hussain, a desert island, and a putt between two ominous mausoleum slabs as the final hole.

In my opinion, it is a great exhibition. Of course the figure of Hitler is tasteless, and that is what makes it so humorous.  The artists have cleverly managed to turn an image of a dreaded dictator into something…well, daft and fun. The exhibition is hugely interactive, (who wouldn’t want to fire golf balls at Hitler?)  and stimulates thought and humour, thus belittling the past Fuehrer, and diminishing any fear and respect for him. Here, the audience are in control.

The exhibition is free, and at the Grundy Art Gallery until the 6th October 2012.


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