Tube posters censored for being too “controversial”

14:56 23 April 2013

'On Earth as it is in Heaven' 2013. Picture: Ben Moore

Archant

Posters displaying Margaret Thatcher in strange and apparently sarcastic contexts have been rejected by Tube advertisers because they are too controversial.

'Shattered' 2013. Picture: Carne Griffiths'Shattered' 2013. Picture: Carne Griffiths

The pictures, created by artists for public art organisation Art Below, were due to be displayed at Westminster Underground station, but failed to meet the conditions of Transport for London’s advertising policy.

Some have suggested this amounts to a ban on the posters but CBS Outdoor, who with TfL manage advertising spaces on the London Underground, insisted the images simply were not approved.

A spokeswoman said that, in particular, the prints contravened section K of the required standards, outlined in TfL’s advertising policy, which states submissions will not be approved if: “The advertisement contains images or messages which relate to matters of public controversy and sensitivity.”

She added if Art Below resubmitted the posters “without the controversial elements, then the copy approval team would reconsider them”.

'Irony' 1990. Picture: Paul Tecklenberg'Irony' 1990. Picture: Paul Tecklenberg

TfL said the decision was taken by CBS Outdoor in the light of Margaret Thatcher’s recent funeral.

A spokeswoman said: “Our advertising contractor, CBS Outdoor, took the view that it could have been considered insensitive to have displayed the posters at the time of Baroness Thatcher’s funeral.

“As her funeral has passed, they will be happy to consider them again.”

Ben Moore, director of Art Below, said he would resubmit the artwork and defended seeking to exhibit it at Westminster Tube station so soon after the former prime minister’s death.

'Maggie Regina' 1983. Picture: Peter Kennard'Maggie Regina' 1983. Picture: Peter Kennard

He said: “I’m not trying to make a political statement about her death…it would have been the same if Princess Diana had died. She’s not a political person but an iconic figure.”

“It’s an artist’s way of marking the death of a very profound and powerful person. I don’t have a political agenda.”

But he also said he had no ill-feelings towards TfL, with whom Art Below often collaborate to exhibit artists’ work on the Underground.

“I’m very appreciative of what they provide,” he said.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

More Quirky London

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Pictured: not the perfect crime [Photograph by Flixtey/Wikimedia Commons]

An Ilford man has escaped jail after he tried to rob a bookmakers with a tin of fish.

Friday, March 27, 2015
The lights inside the clockface will be switched off, so Londoners don't get freaked out by the shadows of people moving within [Colin/Wikimedia]

The clocks go forward at 1am this Sunday. It’s brilliant: we won’t have a super grumpy work morning and we are officially closer to summer.

Friday, March 27, 2015
Instagram user @avecsans took this picture of one of the satirical signs

Don’t worry - these signs going up in Islington and other parts of the city aren’t real, just cheeky spoofs.

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Russell Brand is opening his Trew Era Cafe in Hoxton (Neil Jones)

Russell Brand will open his Trew Era Cafe on the New Era estate in Hoxton, east London today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
3D walkthrouh of the Mail Rail - ScanLab

A lost rail network which ran silently under London for centuries could become a virtual world at a new museum.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Inside the Metropolitan Police's hidden Crime Museum at New Scotland Yard © Museum of London

For the first time ever, ordinary people will be able to see gruesome artefacts from the Metropolitan Police’s crime museum – normally only open to police officers and special invited guests.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Munch on a tasy three course dinner at The Refinery!

“Where to go for a drink near Great Portland Street?” was previously met with blank expressions and shrugs for those local to the area, not anymore, thanks to the opening of The Refinery at Regent’s Place, the eighth bar and restaurant from hugely-successful group Drake & Morgan.

Read more