Is this propeller blade bolted to the deck of the Queen Mary 2 a sculpture or a spare handy for some transatlantic emergency?  It’s definitely sculptural and has a clean formal beauty, but can a piece of pure engineering be considered art?  Well, Marcel Duchamp certainly thought so; and this propeller embodies more symbolic meaning than much of the off-the peg public art dropped on buildings and spaces in doomed attempts to make up for their aesthetic and emotional short comings.  As a spare it might be comforting to the nervous passenger suffering Titanic anxiety – provided they don’t give too much thought to just how you change a propeller.

Photo: Propeller blade, QM2, December 2011

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