The American artist Michael Rakowitz and the British artist Heather Phillipson were announced today, 21 March, as the winners of the next two commissions to occupy the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. Rakowitz will present a replica of the Lamassu statue that once stood at the Nergal Gate in Nineveh, Iraq, and was destroyed by Isis in 2015, while Phillipson will show THE END, a sculpture of a giant mound of whipped cream complete with cherry, fly and a functioning drone on top. The works are due to be unveiled in 2018 and 2020, respectively.
The winners were selected from a shortlist that also included the US sculptor Huma Bhabha, the Mexican artist Damián Ortega, and the Indian group Raqs Media Collective.
The new commissions will follow on from the site’s current bronze sculpture of a giant hand giving a “thumbs up” by the British artist and illustrator David Shrigley. The Fourth Plinth commissioning programme began in 1998 to showcase contemporary art on the stone plinth that stood empty in Trafalgar Square for more than a century after originally being built to house an equestrian statue of William IV. Previous winners include Antony Gormley, Rachel Whiteread and Yinka Shonibare. The project is funded by the Mayor of London and supported by Arts Council England.