The 10 Most Terrifying Public Statues
See a baby-eating ogre, a scary Lucille Ball, and hobbits taking a selfie.
Oklahoma will remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from the grounds of the state capitol, which means residents won’t see the above statue in Oklahoma City, courtesy of the Satanic Temple. Talking Points Memo reports that a sculpture of Baphomet, accompanied by an inverted pentagram, will not be placed in the capitol city after all. With this in mind, here are ten terrifying public statues that were actually created, and placed in sites worldwide.
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Gawker drew our attention to this Nashville monstrosity, which prompted us to pose the question “why are there so many absolutely terrifying public statues?” Not only is this statue alarmingly racist, to say that it is also poorly done is a gross understatement. Jack Kershaw, a former attorney who represented Martin Luther King’s assassin, was also an amateur sculptor. He created this monstrosity in 1998 as a monument to Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was a founding member of the Ku Klux Klan.
A statue in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, was meant to depict local author and educator Abai Qunanbaiuli and Russian exile Yevgeny Mikhaelis. However, it was quickly removed after residents posted pictures of it to social media, proclaiming that instead of two 19th-century historical figures, it appeared to be “two hobbits taking a selfie.” While not necessarily terrifying (unless you have a thing against hobbits), the statue is pretty hilarious in its deviation from its original intention. Sculptor Vladimir Samoylov half-defended the work by stating: “We were in a huge rush, and look what happened.”
The leering, slightly demonic-looking sculpture of Lucille Ball has terrorized residents of Ball’s hometown in Celoron, New York, since 2009, when local sculptor and “I Love Lucy” fan Dave Poulin erected the life-sized bronze in Lucille Ball Memorial Park. Mayor Scott Schrecengost and other local residents have recently campaigned to have Poulin redo the frightening statue. There’s even a Facebook group.
Smash Oscar Wilde?
Maggi Hambling’s A Conversation with Oscar Wilde, which sits in London’s Trafalgar Square, has been the cause of much derision, including its inclusion in a 2009 Telegraph article entitled “Sculptures I’d Love To Smash,” which focuses on why her public sculptures are largely terrible. The Oscar Wilde tribute is the cause of much ire, as the renowned author’s head either appears to melting, or emerging from the sea as some kind of distraught, kelp-covered monster.
A sexually explicit statue of Satan was removed last year from an area beside a highway in Vancouver. It was not commissioned by authorities, and according to Buzzfeed, its origins remain unknown. Even one of the workers tasked with removing the well-endowed crimson monstrosity admitted that he was likely “gonna have nightmares” about the freaky figure. Of course, it wasn’t without it’s fans, either. A petition called “Bring the Satan-With-an-Erection Statue Back to East Vancouver” appeared soon after the removal.
Horny Spider Man
Aroused statues, apparently, are quickly becoming their own sub-genre of public art. A sculpture of comic book hero Spider Man created by artist Eunsuk Yoo was removed from a South Korean shopping center’s playground area last year after inevitable and unsurprising complaints about the state of the sculpture’s family jewels. Strangely, a local hospital later opted to purchase the lewd creation.
Situated in Oslo’s picturesque Frogner Park, this statue by Gustav Vigeland depicts a man with various child-shaped “genii” spirits, but what it really looks like is a guy being attacked by several naked babies, suspended mid-air. We can’t blame him for attempting to fight them off, since they appear to be quite vicious. It’s confusing.
In a similar vein is Kindlifresserbrunnen, a fountain in Bern, Switzerland. While the babyfighter statue wasn’t actually meant to depict a man kicking babies, this statue’s name can be literally translated to “Child Eater Fountain,” and it takes the form of a gnarled old ogre doing just that. Placed at the ogre’s side is a sack containing–you guessed it—more babies. It has been speculated that the sculpture, which was created in approximately 1545 by Hans Gieng, is an expression of a blood libel against Jews.
Headless Cloaked Man
Prague is full of nightmare-inducing statues, but the depiction of Il Commendatore, a ghost from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, has to be one of the creepiest. Created in 2000 by Anna Chromy, who is known for her eerie, shrouded statues, the figure has an especially ominous vibe thanks to its hunched posture, draped cloak, and black hole of a face.
Denver International Airport is home to Blue Mustang—not-so-lovingly nicknamed “Blucifer”—a 32-foot-tall demonic horse statue by Luis Jimenez. Commissioned by the airport in 2008, it’s meant to symbolize the rugged spirit of the Wild West. Instead, its glowing red eyes and bloodthirsty demeanor terrify all who visit the otherwise friendly city. While locals have long petitioned for its removal, the beast remains, and was even recently highlighted in a Gawker article aptly titled “The Denver Airport Will Be a Nazi Paradise After Our Nuclear Holocaust.”
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