British sculptor Antony Gormley’s famous Angel of the North statue, which spans its wings high above the A1 motorway in Tyne and Wear, England, has been used by supermarket chain Morrison’s to project an advert featuring a loaf of bread.
The advert, meant to advertise the troubled company’s most recent price cutting campaign, was projected across the 50 metre wingspan of the sculpture. It has sparked a vociferous public backlash, prompting Morrison’s to apologise publicly.
It is unclear what permission the company had to use the statue for their campaign. Gormley himself has come out against the use, referring to it as “shocking and stupid”. As an artist, Gormley would have moral rights in the work (unless these have been waived either expressly or impliedly), which include the right to object to any derogatory treatment. We wait to see whether this right will be exercised by the artist: even though the advert may have been removed, damages could still potentially be obtained.