BBC spends £4m on art

The BBC has spent more than £4m art to decorate its London offices, while seeking to cut about 3,000 jobs as part of a drive to save £400m in costs, according to press reports.

Records obtained by The Observer under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the BBC has commissioned a series of public artworks under a programme to redevelop its premises at Broadcasting House and White City in London.

The newspaper reports that BBC staff were urged to invent a reason for the expenditure of public funds on these artworks at a time of cost-cutting, to avoid “a sticky situation on the public art front”.

The most expensive single piece, at £1.6m, is an inscribed paved floor for a piazza in Broadcasting House commissioned from Canadian sculptor Mark Pimlott.

Other pieces include an £897,000 cone from Spanish artist Jaume Plensa and a £54,000 cast from Rachel Whiteread.

The public art purchasing programme was launched three years ago by BBC creative director Alan Yentob.

A BBC spokesman said that the £4m bill was “just a fraction” of the overall £800m redevelopment costs.

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