Controversial Apollo Pavilion sculpture stars in British modern history showcase

SHOW'S STAR: The Apollo Pavilion on the Sunny Blunts estate in Peterlee.
SHOW'S STAR: The Apollo Pavilion on the Sunny Blunts estate in Peterlee.

A HOUSING estate artwork, once the subject of demolition calls, will star in a showcase of British modern history.

Peterlee’s Apollo Pavilion will feature alongside exhibits representing the Cold War, mad cow disease and celebrity culture, in one of the country’s highest-profile galleries.

The concrete structure, designed in 1967 by Victor Pasmore and named after the first manned mission to the moon in 1969, was built in 1970 to mark the culmination of his work with the town’s development corporation.

However, while it has been championed as an icon of the era, it has also been the subject of a campaign to pull it down with claims it is a magnet for vandals.

Now the artwork, which was restored in 2009, has been chosen to appear in an exhibition in London, alongside work by artists including Damien Hirst, Gilbert and George, David Hockney and Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Toby Patterson, who has also been inspired by the Sunny Blunts sculpture, will also feature his pieces in the History is Now: 7 Artists Take On Britain, at the Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery from February to April.

David Taylor-Gooby, chairman of the Apollo Pavilion Community Association, said: “The exhibition is about what has happened in Britain since the Second World War, and the Apollo Pavilion Community Association is pleased that the curators have decided to include the pavilion in the exhibition.

“We feel this is an honour for Peterlee, and shows the new town played a significant role in the new town’s movement after the war.”

Merchandise featuring the pavilion will be sold at the gallery and will also be available in Peterlee.