Special celebration as Angel of the North turns 20 years old
Celebrations are being held to mark the Angel of the North turning 20.
Sir Antony Gormley’s 200-tonne steel figure took two days to erect beside the A1 in Gateshead.
Since then it has weathered sun, rain and snow to become one of Britain’s best-loved and most recognised pieces of public art.
Before it was erected over February 14 and 15 in 1998, feelings about the Angel were mixed, with some anger at the £800,000 price tag and even complaints it resembled a 1930s Nazi sculpture.
There were concerns about how the engineering would keep it upright during storms, that it might be struck by lightning and that its position by the A1 – passed by 90,000 drivers daily – could distract motorists and cause accidents.
The late art critic Brian Sewell even branded it a “totem” and “bad engineering”.
However, the criticism has largely been forgotten as it has been embraced as a symbol of the north.
Press Association photographer Owen Humphreys has been taking pictures of the work even before it was erected. He said: “It has weathered so many storms but I don’t think it has changed colour much.
“I saw it when it was laid on the floor of the works and it’s not until it was stood up that you get the sheer scale of it. I love it – as soon as you see it on the A1, you know you’re in the north.”
Gateshead Council is asking people to share memories using the #Angel20 hashtag.
A celebration with cake will be held today at the Angel.
It was 20 years ago that the Angel of the North was put in place.