The World's Ugliest Statues
April 24, 2010 7:45 PM   Subscribe

The World's Ugliest Statues -- I think #5, in New Jersey, is the one I find most offensive, but they're all hideous.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (152 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
> I think #5, in New Jersey

"10-story monument to the victims of the September 11 attacks, consisting of a titanium teardrop encased in bronze that continually drips water."

If the teardrop weren't there, I would actually like it. The tear is straight 9th-grade self-cutting angst. A 10-story tall sculpture that brings a geological feature like a crack in a rockface (that's what the picture looks like) into a skyscraper environment would be great.
posted by Decimask at 7:52 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


What? Number four is one of the best statues ever. Ahoy, Comrade Munchausen!
posted by Benjamin Nushmutt at 7:54 PM on April 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


I like the Peter the Great one too :-)
posted by SatansCabanaboy at 7:56 PM on April 24, 2010


Some of editorial comments on the statues seemed to focus on ridiculing "foreign" people and ideas. Much of it was kind of jingoist.
posted by oddman at 8:02 PM on April 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Giant Steel Genghis Khan is khantastic.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:04 PM on April 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Some of editorial comments on the statues seemed to focus on ridiculing "foreign" people and ideas. Much of it was kind of jingoist.

Here's an American one, then, from the Charlotte-Douglas airport: Queen Charlotte getting an invisible cannonball in the stomach.
posted by Iridic at 8:06 PM on April 24, 2010 [16 favorites]


That Khan statue looks like a prop in a Harryhausen film. I half expect it to start moving.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:07 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh man, I had my first sonogram/ultrasound in the military hospital mere feet from the second statue on that list. Can't say that was one of my better days.
posted by piratebowling at 8:09 PM on April 24, 2010


If you can't appreciate the wonderfulness of 131-foot-tall stainless-steel Ghenghis Khan, I pity and despise you.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:09 PM on April 24, 2010 [12 favorites]


What, no mention of the Bronze Family at Hadlock Field? [Previously]
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:10 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I saw the Peter the Great statue in Moscow (I was one of the ironic visitors the caption talks about) -- the weirdest thing about it is the scale. This is a picture taken from a good ways off, and as far as I can tell, from well above ground level -- in the eyes of a person on the ground, the statue is made of infinite, poorly conceived tchotchkes, and Peter sort of pokes out his map or whatever from high above, always at least partially blocked by the enormous ship he's standing on. I think the idea to make this one of the tallest statues in the world was added relatively late in the planning process, perhaps during a night out at one of Moscow's fine nightclubs.

This picture seems like it was taken before the statue was moved -- notice how it's facing the distant shore -- that's better, because it decreases the intensity of the chunder and random that makes up the statue's enormously tall base. The way I saw it, and I think the way it's displayed now, is infinitely worse -- in a corner of the Park of the Arts, where it has reached the level of sublime post-Communist joke.
posted by Valet at 8:11 PM on April 24, 2010


Yeah, sorry, most of these are pretty awesome, actually. I know that it's all gauche to be an imperialist, but I really enjoy the insane levels of ambition that it takes to put up something like these. They're not ugly themselves, though plenty of them represent distasteful folks (I'd have freaked the fuck out if Bush was building monuments like these to himself).
posted by klangklangston at 8:19 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Manitoba Legislature had one of a famous Metis leader named Louis Riel that was so abstract and controversial (Riel was depicted in the nude, struggling in thought) it had to be moved from the Legislature to another park. It was a collaboration between Marcien Lemay and the architect Étienne Gaboury.

There was outcry from several groups besides the Metis about this less-than-noble portrayal and it was replaced by another more conventional statue of Riel. Proving, I guess, that the finer points of representation in art are lost when it comes to political image-keeping.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:21 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


That Khan statue is fucking brutal. They should have a holiday where he pukes blood for a week, and then catches on fire or something.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 8:21 PM on April 24, 2010 [20 favorites]


What about Turtle Boy?
posted by ifandonlyif at 8:24 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


> A 10-story tall sculpture that brings a geological feature like a crack in a rockface

I can't get over this idea, now. I'm picturing a multi-story solid mass of brickwork with the vertical crevasse cut into it using a water pressure system of some kind. You would be able to walk through it. Maybe something like this glacier or like this, but in recreated in ubiquitous red bricks.

/derail

posted by Decimask at 8:25 PM on April 24, 2010


Genghis Khan's statue...is it even REAL? It's like some crazy Photoshop experiment.
posted by Windigo at 8:37 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Honestly, if I was in Mongolia I'd probably go check out the Genghis statue, ride the elevator to the top of the horse's head, the whole deal. Part of what makes it look so neat is there's absolutely nothing else in the background of that photo. Just dry dusty plains, then KHAN, then dry dusty plains again. He stands out.

For my money, the worst statue on that list is #7, which depicts little Edgar Hernández, age six, the first victim of Swine Flu. The problem is that he's still alive, and for the rest of his life that thing is going to be up there, mocking him, like a little pisseur. Maybe he'll move away when he gets old enough.
posted by Kevin Street at 8:43 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't find #5 tacky, but i do agree that it might look better and be a better statement without the silver teardrop.
posted by djduckie at 8:45 PM on April 24, 2010


i have to disagree with the editorial slant of this post (gasp!)...
honestly...this is a list of statues that are ugly because of their historical context rather than their artistic merit. Artistically, the Jersey monument is pretty terrible. Within a historical context, it's at least sound proximity and importance-wise.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:45 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whatever happened to the giant King Of Pop Michael Jackson?
posted by philip-random at 8:52 PM on April 24, 2010


None of these come close to the ugly that rests on the campus of my alma mater.
posted by lexicakes at 8:56 PM on April 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Butter Jesus?
posted by rikschell at 9:00 PM on April 24, 2010


i have to disagree with the editorial slant of this post (gasp!)...

Yeah. Stalin was one of the worst buddies ever, but it's not a horrible statue. It's not great, but I think this should be more about aesthetics than social commentary.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:01 PM on April 24, 2010


Meh. Just wait till they finish the Crazy Horse Memorial.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:02 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


i was a little surprised my beloved Vulcan didn't make the list.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:09 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


No list like this is complete without the great cheese mite memorial of Wurchwitz. That thing is just waiting for night to fall so it can come to life.
posted by finnb at 9:11 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


None of these come close to the ugly that rests on the campus of my alma mater.

Is that Denim Fetish Superman© propositioning Acid Mrs. Butterworth™?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:13 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Kevin Street: For my money, the worst statue on that list is #7, which depicts little Edgar Hernández, age six, the first victim of Swine Flu. The problem is that he's still alive, and for the rest of his life that thing is going to be up there, mocking him, like a little pisseur. Maybe he'll move away when he gets old enough.

It's almost certainly the ugliest from an aesthetic perspective, too. It just looks awful.

A lot of the statues look pretty good, at least to me. Most of the statues of horrible people are at least well done, and I think Khan is distant enough in history that we can make statues of him without necessarily being thought to approve of how he acted. The base of the statue #3 is pretty modern-artish and would be fine if they just hacked off the top. Maybe replace it with a statue of Narcissus or something.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:13 PM on April 24, 2010


And then there's this thing that's sitting outside the library of my home town.
posted by hellojed at 9:19 PM on April 24, 2010


I don't care what they have to say, that Genghis Khan is friggin awesome.
posted by delmoi at 9:26 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


If it wasn't for the fact that it's fairly small, I feel like "Man on a Horse" outside a local Starbucks could hold its own.
posted by hoperaiseshell at 9:29 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I actually really like $5, but agree that the teardrop detracts from it.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:31 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


In addition to liking $5, I also like #5.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:32 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh, and aside from the mighty Vulcan and his exposed ass, Alabama also boasts another contender for this list: the Boll Weevil Monument, which is 1000 shades of ugly awesome.

And, yeah, I made a Mefi post on that, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:34 PM on April 24, 2010


I vote for this literal hunk of rust outside the federal building in Asheville.
posted by greta simone at 9:41 PM on April 24, 2010


Is that Denim Fetish Superman© propositioning Acid Mrs. Butterworth™?

Wow. That's the best description of this sculpture I've ever heard. But no, it is the fiesta dancers (by Luis Jimenez) at the University of New Mexico.
posted by lexicakes at 9:48 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


What? Statues don't get uglier than this.
posted by kimota at 9:49 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I nominate this one.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:57 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Lenin statue (#2) isn't ugly. Boring, maybe.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:03 PM on April 24, 2010


pah... they are clearly not even trying. I've a handful of statues in my small city that are worse than some of those, hell some of those are downright cool and I'd absolutely adore having them around.

(this is really something like those signs in Barnes and Nobel that say "LISTEN TO ANY CD IN THE WORLD!" And, I'm all like, "cool... let me listen to Kyrgyz Jazz ", and they are all like "Whaaa?" and I'm all like, "yeah, I thought so bitches")
posted by edgeways at 10:03 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I hope everyone noticed what a high percentage of these were in Russia, commissioned by Russia, or by Russians, with a good number pulling the trifecta.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:08 PM on April 24, 2010


greta simone, Asheville is very proud of the Triumphant Cascade of Irregularly Shaped Flat Thingys. I like to think that it honors the generations of artists in Asheville who worked tirelessly to assemble fragments of inspiration to make a grand monument to assembled fragments, or something.

Iridic, I have to say, I genuinely like the sculpture at the Charlotte Airport. How often does one get the chance to exit a plane, grab luggage, and boom, you are suddenly confronted by what looks to be a giant fucking Queen of the Sea Witches calling upon the wrath of the ocean? Not often enough.
posted by Benjamin Nushmutt at 10:12 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


As flapjax said, Vulcan should be on the list.
posted by republican at 10:13 PM on April 24, 2010


I've always wanted to sneak out at 4 am and attach giant styrofoam flies to this statue.
posted by jamaro at 10:24 PM on April 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


nonononono you ALL have it wrong. The ugliest, most offensive piece of statuary on the whole goddamn planet (for my money, anyway) is this piece of shit I had to drive past to get to work everyday for 2 years.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you: JESUSZILLA!!!!!

this is the sort of bullshit that makes me ashamed to be from Ohio.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:37 PM on April 24, 2010 [15 favorites]


The Genghis Khan statue is AWESOME. And how in the hell is Jeanneke Pis not on this list?
posted by deadmessenger at 10:48 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you: JESUSZILLA!!!!!

Man, so much for that whole 'meek inheriting the earth' thing.
posted by hellojed at 10:50 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


They're missing San Jose's Quetzalcoatl. The photo here actually looks almost decent because it's in bright light. Most of the time, it looks like an 8 ft. dog turd.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:50 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Lenin statue (#2) isn't ugly. Boring, maybe.

That's actually Stalin, and according to statistics that magically appeared in the West after his death, he killed 43,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 people and was Hitler times infinity + commie. So shame on you.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:51 PM on April 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


As a guy from Jersey, let me just say "I gotcher %#*$in' statue RIGHT HERE, pal!"
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:55 PM on April 24, 2010


I've always wanted to sneak out at 4 am and attach giant styrofoam flies to this statue.

I thought for sure that would be on the list.
posted by dogmom at 10:59 PM on April 24, 2010


Those statues are ugly, but none are quite as disturbing as Anslie's Sheep of Canberra.
posted by embrangled at 11:10 PM on April 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I guess since it's from Foreign Policy they focus on the weird non-American statues, otherwise the Giant Poo of San Jose would have made the list.
posted by vespabelle at 11:13 PM on April 24, 2010


As far as horrendous statues go, I've always liked Nick Cave's, even if it still exists only in a small-scale mockup:

“The homecoming project, as it's called, is something that I've been mulling over for 20 years or something - it was to get a statue made of me on a horse and put it in the town of Warracknabeal where I was born. By chance I ran into this guy 15 years ago or something like that called Corrin Johnson who worked on the Lady Di memorial. The idea was to get this huge statue on the back of a [?] or something like that and drive it to Warracknabeal and just sort of leave it there as a gift, as an act of kind of supreme generosity, and see if they would put it in there town square. Now, I've since found out there is no town square in Warracknabeal, there's just a roundabout - which would be rather good, as well. But, you know, if they didn't want it, I was just going to drive it into the desert and kind of dump it there somewhere.”

Apparently, as of 2006, plans may go forward on this:

“Yarriambiack Shire Mayor Andrew McLean has encouraged singer, writer and entertainer Nick Cave to approach council with his proposal to erect a life-size statue of himself in Warracknabeal... ‘At this stage we have two roundabouts with sculptures of woolsacks, dogs and sheep. An indigenous theme with dingoes is being considered for the third,’ he said.”
posted by koeselitz at 11:17 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have to see this ridiculous heroic businessman statue every time I catch a Continental flight out of my hometown.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:19 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like the Khan and Kim Il-Sung statues. The Rocky statue in Philly is bad enough, much less anywhere else. And what's with the Statue of Liberty? The damn thing turned blue almost as soon as we got it, didn't they know we would be keeping it outside?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:20 PM on April 24, 2010


The damn thing turned blue almost as soon as we got it, didn't they know we would be keeping it outside?

TCR demands you credit them for reusing that joke.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:21 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


i love that canberra sheep just chillin'
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:21 PM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


The thing I love about statues all over the world is, hard as they try to make us remember the Great Men in question, they invariably end up covered in bird shit.
posted by philip-random at 11:25 PM on April 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think Enterprise, Alabama's boll weevil monument deserves a better picture, so here.
posted by wsg at 11:28 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have to see this ridiculous heroic businessman statue every time I catch a Continental flight out of my hometown.

That's supposed to be Pres. Bush the Elder, isn't it? I'm pretty sure it is -- it's in George Bush Intercontinental, and the plaque says "President George H. W. Bush".

And yes, it's a horrid statue. The photo doesn't really do justice to how bad it is.
posted by vorfeed at 11:32 PM on April 24, 2010


Yes, it's Bush. I call it "heroic businessman" because it seems to be a representation of him as younger man when he was a local businessman.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:35 PM on April 24, 2010


(and done in the heroic style)
posted by Burhanistan at 11:35 PM on April 24, 2010


Also, Colorado should have a strong shot at winning the ugliest statue award here: we have "El Mesteño", an eight-meter rearing monstrosity that welcomes visitors to Denver International Airport with its glowing eyes and frightening anatomical realism. Damned thing has stirred up plenty of loathing, and it seems as though even the city government secretly despises it, but it's hard to get rid of it considering that the poor sculptor was killed by the thing while he was creating it for us.
posted by koeselitz at 11:39 PM on April 24, 2010 [21 favorites]


There's also this one , now a permanent resident in the retirement-centric town of Sarasota, FL, also famed for its numerous (terrifying) statues of clowns in honor of the Ringling circus.
posted by ajarbaday at 11:42 PM on April 24, 2010


I think number nine is actually fascinating and if the locals derive inspiration from these statues, well, more power to them. The linked articles are quite interesting as well.
posted by rjs at 11:54 PM on April 24, 2010


man that "El Mesteño" is simultaneous awful and fucking great, JESUSZILLA is gut wrenching funny, and those clown statues are like something out of a Dr Who Christmas special
posted by edgeways at 11:58 PM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The boil weevil one is crying for a Kent Brock addition so bad.
posted by Iosephus at 12:05 AM on April 25, 2010


I think Enterprise, Alabama's boll weevil monument deserves a better picture, so here.

Absolutely, wsg. Thanks for that link.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:15 AM on April 25, 2010


Pfft. These are ugliest statues that FP can come up with? Hell, my hometown has one (actually several) that beats them all: No Child Left Behind. (four separate links, three from my own flickr stream)

When Obama won in '08, I had to talk myself out of sneaking over to my old high school in the middle of the night and knocking over the Bush statue, all deposed-dictator styley.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:30 AM on April 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


If you can't appreciate the wonderfulness of 131-foot-tall stainless-steel Ghenghis Khan, I pity and despise you.

I bookmarked that page under "Travel."
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:32 AM on April 25, 2010


Man, holding bird and bow, wearing grande hat, carrying quiver ... while riding a Griffin.

Statue in front of the embassy of Kazakhstan, Washington, DC, in fine style.
posted by bhance at 12:37 AM on April 25, 2010


All of the entries read more like "statues that most disagree with my ideological preferences". I would be more interested to see bad statues that got put in the public place, which I don't think this list offers (since most of the entries are pretty well made).

Still a great link tho.
posted by codacorolla at 12:43 AM on April 25, 2010


Swine Flu Boy sounds like a super-hero ... from the wrong side of the tracks.
posted by philip-random at 12:54 AM on April 25, 2010


I think #5, in New Jersey

Not actually in New Jersey, it's Bayonne, Puerto Rico.
posted by ill3 at 12:59 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Statue in front of the embassy of Kazakhstan, Washington, DC, in fine style.
posted by bhance


You wish you could be cooler than that statue, but you can't be.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:03 AM on April 25, 2010


None of these people have ever been to Burkina Faso. (self link) Seriously, that place took the cake for ugly, not just politically inappropriate, statues.

Also, that Genghis statue is rad. Temujin would be pleased.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 1:22 AM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Have to mention the legendary Ted Bates statue.
posted by Phanx at 1:23 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've always been partial to this charming piece.
posted by chaff at 1:34 AM on April 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Africa by Brett Murray.
posted by PenDevil at 1:40 AM on April 25, 2010


Just a short walk away from my home: "Arthur Ashe Beats the Torso Children", 1996
posted by emelenjr at 2:00 AM on April 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Boy, I figured I must be aesthetically challenged or something, as I rather liked quite a number of these. It's good to see that if I do indeed have bad taste, it's not that uncommon.

#5 does strike me as a bit ugly/tacky, for what it's worth.
posted by Malor at 2:03 AM on April 25, 2010


Hello; I think you missed this one as well.
posted by adamvasco at 2:14 AM on April 25, 2010


This thread is slowly morphing into a travel itinerary for me. I am incredibly fascinated with public sculpture--the bigger and more outlandish the better. I'm fairly certain that the art displayed around town says something about a community, I just haven't figured out what yet. Exhibit A.
(My favorite was always Caesar Dawgustus)
posted by Eumachia L F at 2:17 AM on April 25, 2010


I was rather disappointed not to find the Estonian Freedom Monument on the list.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:43 AM on April 25, 2010


lonefrontranger: "Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you: JESUSZILLA!!!!!"

Actually, it looks more like ZOMBIE JESUS!
posted by bwg at 2:50 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't blink. Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast, faster than you could believe. Don't turn your back, don't look away, and don't blink. Good luck.
posted by Mwongozi at 3:10 AM on April 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


Eureka Springs Arkansas 70 foot tall remarkably tacky Jesus statue
posted by dancestoblue at 3:37 AM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yet another statue/monument that's ugly because of it's connotations, but amazing in its scale and grandeur - Franco's Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos. At 152 meters tall, it's the tallest memorial cross in the world...
posted by benzo8 at 3:55 AM on April 25, 2010


Another vote for not trying hard enough / some of these are actually great.

In the UK, in the last few years, there seems to be a competition among towns and cites to see who produce the ugliest statue of their local minor celebrity.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:28 AM on April 25, 2010


Another thing of beauty here.
posted by dancestoblue at 4:30 AM on April 25, 2010


Looks like there's been an actual backlash against the celebrity statue plague in the UK. Not before time.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:43 AM on April 25, 2010


There's a line between "Madness" and "Genius", and I think the Crazy Horse Memorial sits right on that line. I think of the modern world as having passed the age of constructing works of stone art that take generations to create, but Crazy Horse is there proving me wrong.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:46 AM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


God help me I LOVE that Genghis Khan statue! I think it needs to be bigger, though. Like "OMG this is the most amazing cinematic scene in a sci-fi game evar!!!!!" big.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:46 AM on April 25, 2010


They forgot this one.
posted by at the crossroads at 4:52 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


And as for the BEST statue in the world, I nominate Man Attacked By Babies.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:54 AM on April 25, 2010 [17 favorites]


You mean to tell me nobody's made a goatse statue yet?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:55 AM on April 25, 2010


I find many of these to be accurate representations of the inner soul of the subject.

A beautiful statue of Stalin, that would be a perversion.
posted by dragonsi55 at 5:22 AM on April 25, 2010


In the UK, in the last few years, there seems to be a competition among towns and cites to see who produce the ugliest statue of their local minor celebrity.

I think Southampton won.
posted by Bodd at 5:40 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love them all!
posted by R. Mutt at 5:48 AM on April 25, 2010


This list is not complete without the Tower of the Sun.
posted by sour cream at 5:51 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


'Don't be a stranger' by Irene Nordli is one of the weirdest statues I've ever seen. It's in Asker, Norway.
posted by knapah at 6:07 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't have anything to contribute but I just wanted to say thanks for all the links-- some great stuff here (great as in majestically interesting and "great" as in horrifically, pretentiously ugly.)

Khan has my vote for the Greatest Statue, ever as well as the one I will least likely see in person. An hour out of Ulan Bator is not the first European destination that springs to mind when booking tickets. However, His Shininess is a big attraction; I am so glad they went with stainless steel instead of bronze!

The Canberra sheep statue is the one I find most intriguing. What is with the shirt draped over the side? Is the sheep shearer getting ready to work, and if so why is the sheep sitting on a chair? Or was the shirt doffed by the sheep itself? What an arresting statue with-- no doubt-- a million different narratives told by the natives.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:09 AM on April 25, 2010


No Gumby Goes To Heaven?
posted by biscotti at 6:28 AM on April 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


This thread is many times more awesome than the link.
posted by odinsdream at 6:50 AM on April 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Eureka Springs Arkansas 70 foot tall remarkably tacky Jesus statue

The best thing about that statue is that Jesus is standing watch over one of the gayest towns in America.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:51 AM on April 25, 2010


I think the Peter the Great statue is the one mentioned in William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, where they say they have it guarded so that the local artists don't burn it down.

Looking at it, I can see why. It's not deathless art, it's crap.

Also, Ill3: no, it's Bayonne, New Jersey, which is south of Jersey City. Not Puerto Rico at all. You can see it if you go from lower Manhattan to Staten Island on the SI Ferry.
posted by mephron at 6:55 AM on April 25, 2010


Those might be the ugliest political or commemorative sculptures, but there's plenty of ugly public art around. There is this one, about which the sculptor said, "People hated the Eiffel Tower when it went up. They thought it was brutal and completely out of scale with the landscape. Now, imagine Paris without it."
posted by cogneuro at 7:19 AM on April 25, 2010


Eureka Springs Arkansas 70 foot tall remarkably tacky Jesus statue

The best thing about that statue is that Jesus is standing watch over one of the gayest towns (Eureka) in America.


This is why many boys, upon discovering their first erection with only other males around, are often known to exclaim, "Eureka!"
posted by flarbuse at 7:23 AM on April 25, 2010


What, no Louis Riel?
posted by clvrmnky at 7:37 AM on April 25, 2010


I think this thing in my home town deserves at least honorable mention. I would often ride past it on my bike; it's by far the largest (and tackiest) item in the statue park and is rarely without old people having their photos taken in front of it.
posted by indubitable at 8:09 AM on April 25, 2010


Oh wow, I wasn't even the first to mention this. Hooray, Sarasota.
posted by indubitable at 8:16 AM on April 25, 2010


This is my favorite Terrible Jesus statue, if for no other reason than it allows us to extrapolate exactly how large Jesus is.
posted by phooky at 8:19 AM on April 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't know, our "Naked Giants" are kinda ugly, but I'm fond of 'em....
posted by jkaczor at 8:25 AM on April 25, 2010


They forgot this statue at the St. Louis Zoo.
posted by Ostara at 8:35 AM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, Ill3: no, it's Bayonne, New Jersey, which is south of Jersey City. Not Puerto Rico at all. You can see it if you go from lower Manhattan to Staten Island on the SI Ferry.

I assumed that comment was some kind of bigoted remark about Bayonne, but I know nothing about the place, or the commenter. Or Puerto Rico, for that matter.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:51 AM on April 25, 2010


The goatse statue [SFW, google maps link] at the CNE, is either ugly or full of win depending upon the viewer.
posted by ecco at 8:54 AM on April 25, 2010


This statue in Ann Arbor, on the UM Medical Centers campus, always made me uncomfortable. Seen from a certain angle (i.e., most of the angles one sees the sculpture from when actually walking by the building it's in front of), it looks like the man is doing something really disgusting with that child.

(Sorry, I'm just the messenger.)
posted by LooseFilter at 9:03 AM on April 25, 2010


I couldn't find a picture of it, but if look at this Christopher Columbus statue (Coit Tower, San Francisco) from the right angle, whatever document he's holding covers up all the fingers on his extended hand save for the thumb, which then becomes, undeniably and quite obviously, a penis.
posted by treepour at 9:11 AM on April 25, 2010


Midland, MI (Home of Modern Discoverers) has this homage to the nuclear family near downtown. Pretty tame compared with some of these, but the more time you spend looking at it, the more oppressive it becomes.
posted by palancik at 9:28 AM on April 25, 2010


Brussels has good entrants in the "ugly statues" stakes, both in the aesthetic and political categories: this monstrously ugly fontain (what's it supposed to represent, a web-footed alien astronaut?) and this bizarre display of Leopold II, bearded butcher of Congo...in the buff.
posted by Skeptic at 9:30 AM on April 25, 2010


This is where we complain about statues we hate, right? PGE Park, the minor league baseball soccer stadium in Portland has two of these hideously creepy baby face masks.

Oh, and I also hate these fake totem poles in Jamison Square.
posted by chrchr at 9:33 AM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Virtually every one of the links from this group are to better more caustically ugly statues than the original post. I love you people at Mefi. You are like the seriously disturbed family I never had.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:00 AM on April 25, 2010


I think the Crazy Horse Memorial is one of the most horrible statues-in-progress (is that still a statue?)...

For a statue commemorating a Native American leader, it seems pretty unbelievable that they are sacrificing a whole bloody mountain to it.
posted by Harry at 11:22 AM on April 25, 2010


The Tree of Utah. Epic.
posted by wowbobwow at 12:22 PM on April 25, 2010


Downtown Omaha has a series of statues representing "pioneer courage", and while there are several buffalo running for their lives through the streets from the marauding invaders there is not one Native American to be seen (Omaha is named for an indigenous tribe). Homage to hegemony in bronze.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:16 PM on April 25, 2010



They forgot this statue at the St. Louis Zoo.

That's it, I can close my account now, for this is the most awesome thing that has ever been linked on Metafilter.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:20 PM on April 25, 2010


I can't believe nobody's posted the blowjob statue.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:04 PM on April 25, 2010


Is that Denim Fetish Superman© propositioning Acid Mrs. Butterworth™?

This is my favorite description ever of that statue.

I gave up on perusing the statues in this FPP when none of the first few I looked at came close to it in uglyness.
posted by yohko at 3:19 PM on April 25, 2010


Here's a better picture of The Blowjob Statue, otherwise known as "Abraham and Isaac." It really was an unfortunate place to put that knife, and Isaac certainly doesn't look very into it.

One of my favourites is the monstrosity at Leslie and Sheppard in Toronto. Nothing says "public park art" to me like "giant rusty spike pointing directly at your head." They even include a handy ledge you can stand one so you can poke your eyes out more easily. Now that's service!
posted by ilana at 3:56 PM on April 25, 2010


I'm suddenly reminded of Glooscap.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:09 PM on April 25, 2010


Is that Denim Fetish Superman© propositioning Acid Mrs. Butterworth™?

Here at the University of Oklahoma, we also got to experience the pop art stylings of Luis Jimenez thanks to the university president's wife, a big fan of Jimenez. For awhile, the acid Mrs. Butterworth, or a version thereof, graced our campus as well. While I eventually found a modicum of appreciation for his work, I could never quite get to the point where I found the acid Mrs. Butterworth pleasing to look at.
Denverites may be familiar with his work Mesteño at the Denver International Airport, a work inspired by a similar piece that sits outside of our art museum. The smaller version of the Mustang sits outside of OU's art museum, which many of us refer to as the "devil horse" or the "demon horse" due to its glowing red eyes, which light up at night.
Jimenez was killed when a big piece of the DIA devil horse fell and severed an artery in his leg.

However, the work of Jimenez has since been surpassed in grotesqueness on our fine campus. I submit for your consideration, Exhibit A: Sphinx by Fernando Botero, and Exhibit B: The Sacrifice of Isaac by Menashe Kadishman.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:12 PM on April 25, 2010


Damn. koeselitz beat me to it.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:18 PM on April 25, 2010


I submit for your consideration, Exhibit A: Sphinx by Fernando Botero

Well, I, for one, am a big Botero fan. Probably not as big as he'd like, though. And I don't really like his chubby horses.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:21 PM on April 25, 2010


Mr. Rogers with psoriasis.
posted by logicpunk at 4:44 PM on April 25, 2010


The Genghis Khan statue is truly epic. Fan-fucking-tastic. But I'm surprised there's not more love for that first one, in Senegal. Man, woman, child, 160 feet tall, all three looking badass. This may be the winner for me.

But, man, Khaaaaaaaaaan! sorry.
posted by zardoz at 5:33 PM on April 25, 2010


There is some really hideous statuary in the public park of Olean, NY.
posted by yomimono at 6:30 PM on April 25, 2010


For a statue commemorating a Native American leader, it seems pretty unbelievable that they are sacrificing a whole bloody mountain to it.

It's meant to be the Native American equivalent of Mt Rushmore. And if I had endless supplies of money, I'd pay to get it finished.
posted by crossoverman at 8:46 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Lakota apparently would not appreciate your use of your money:
The traditional and spiritual people of the Lakota look upon the carving of the Crazy Horse Memorial as a desecration of their sacred lands. To them, it is like defiling Mecca, the Holy Land, or the Vatican.
. . .
Crazy Horse, the magnificent warrior of the Lakota, was an Oglala like me. He never put his name on a treaty. He never sold out. He, it was said, never allowed his picture to be taken. He would never have allowed his face to be carved upon the side of a mountain in the beautiful hills he held sacred.

Charlotte Black Elk, the great-great-granddaughter of Black Elk (of the Black Elk Speaks fame) is bitterly against the carving. Oliver Red Cloud, the great-great-grandson of Chief Red Cloud, has spoken out strongly against the carving. He has said he truly believes it will not be completed because Wakan Tanka (the Great Spirit) will never allow it to happen.

Lakota anthropologist Beatrice Medicine of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the tribe of Sitting Bull, is also vehemently opposed to the statue. She believes the mountain is more of a tribute to the sculptor than to the Indian. She calls the carving "a sacrilege that mars the beauty of the sacred Black Hills."

Avis Little Eagle, editor of Indian Country Today, denounced the carving as a "monument of exploitation." She wrote, "Many promises were made to the Lakota when Korczak began carving in 1948, but few of them have been kept."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:52 AM on April 26, 2010


As far as horrendous statues go, I've always liked Nick Cave's, even if it still exists only in a small-scale mockup:

Wait a minute. They have Nick Cave statues now? I waaaaaant one!
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:05 AM on April 26, 2010


The Lakota apparently would not appreciate your use of your money:

Oh, interesting. Thanks for the link.

I guess I was thinking more in terms of wanting to see the project completed, since it's gone on for so long. I didn't really know what the Lakota actually thought of it, but as was suggested further up, it probably is against what Crazy Horse would have wanted.

I withdraw my offer of fictional endless supplies of money but I'd still love to see it finished some day.
posted by crossoverman at 5:09 AM on April 26, 2010


Anyone for Snoopy In a Blender? (aka "Monument with standing beast" by Jean Dubuffet, in Chicago's Loop.)
posted by dnash at 9:09 AM on April 26, 2010


There is some really hideous statuary in the public park of Olean, NY.

Wow. That "Lady Justice" with the painted toenails ... well, both of them. Why is Ronald McDonald a squirrel?
posted by krinklyfig at 9:30 AM on April 26, 2010


dnash: Anyone for Snoopy In a Blender? (aka "Monument with standing beast" by Jean Dubuffet, in Chicago's Loop.)

Even looking at a picture of it, all I can do is smell human urine. Even in the rain that thing stinks like the john in a crappy bar.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:52 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe the article and the comments skipped Nashville's horrible privately-commissioned statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest (founder of the KKK). It's on private land, but it faces the highway, so you can see it as you drive by. It looks like a knockoff of the knockoffs of Disney animation in the 80s -- horrendously ugly and embarrassing as hell.
posted by Locative at 10:03 AM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hattiesburg, MS is home to what has got to be the tackiest 9/11 memorial.
posted by thebrokedown at 1:58 PM on April 26, 2010


Re "Snoopy in a Blender" it is truly amazing that thing hasn't been vandalized yet.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:14 PM on April 26, 2010


Locative, you beat me to it. Aesthetically and ideologically, the giant Nathan Bedford Forrest is really the most hideous thing I've ever seen. Between it's gold and silver plastic construction, utter lack of a sense of proportion, a facial expression that can only be described as violent constipation, and utterly loathsome purpose, it's a humiliating pox on the city.

I do, however, oddly enjoy this passage from the Wikipedia page on the subject:

A massive but strange statue of Forrest on horseback stands south of Nashville. Here his face takes on a comical growl, and his over sized silver body sits atop an undersized bronze mount. Both detractors and admirers of Forrest dislike this rendering intensely; it is reported that in 2002 someone shot at it.
posted by mostlymartha at 4:05 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would have guessed that the people who commissioned the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest hate him,, but it says that it is surrounded by confederate flags so I guess they are fans? Huh.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:10 PM on April 26, 2010


I have just decided that every one of these statues is awesome, and I want one of each.

Except the Nathaniel Bedford Forrest one.
posted by koeselitz at 5:18 PM on April 26, 2010


The North Korean one is starkly beautiful.

If I had one of myself, it would look like that.
posted by Zangal at 9:07 AM on April 28, 2010


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