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UK 'SHOULD LOSE'ARCHIGRAM WORK

NEWS

Archigram legend Peter Cook has called for the group's extraordinary archive to be sold abroad.

The academic and writer, a founding member of the group, has told the AJ that he would rather the massive collection of work found a home outside the UK.

Cook, who started the radical collective with five other young architects in 1962, insisted that whichever collection wins the current bidding frenzy for the archive, it should have a long-term appreciation of the work.

'I would prefer the archive to go abroad - I'm not sure it should stay in this country in the British scene, ' he said.

'England has been very grudging about our work and our influence. Even when we won the Royal Gold Medal, it didn't really change my mind about the way we are seen over here.

'Some of us [Archigram members] sold some of the archive to FRAC [Fonds Régional d'Art Contemporain] in France a few years ago and we received very good recompense for it. It wasn't massive but it was good enough to pay for a new car and a large tax bill.

'The only interest we've had from this country is from the British Architectural Library - and they want us to give them the stuff for free.' Cook continued: 'But it's not just about the money. The fact is that they [FRAC] take our work very seriously and it is in exhibitions with some other very serious work as well.

'FRAC has an extremely good track record being interested in Archigram - they have not just jumped on the bandwagon.

'And they've been very good to us. They've let us know what is happening with the stuff and have sent us catalogues and invitations.' But Cook appeared to be most keen for the archive to head to Columbia University in Manhattan.

'Mike Webb [one of the Archigram members] is now in New York and has had a lot of interest in the work he's doing from the head of Columbia, Mark Wigley.

They really understand what we were doing and what we are doing now.

'The simple fact is that I would rather it went somewhere good than somewhere simply because it's in England, ' he added.

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