Hooligans Repeatedly Attack Public Sculpture in Massachusetts Park

Really, Worcester? Really?

Lisa Simonds' sculpture Silueta was decapitated by unknown vandals. Photo Christine Peterson, via the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Lisa Simonds' sculpture Silueta was decapitated by unknown vandals.
Photo Christine Peterson, via the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

It’s a tough time for public sculpture in Worcester, Massachusetts.

In July, vandals in the city 50 miles west of Boston decapitated a sculpture of a woman by artist Lisa Simonds. That followed a June 13 attack on no fewer than five other works on June 13—the night before the exhibition in Worcester’s Elm Park was scheduled to open, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Among the casualties of that first round of vandalism were the Styrofoam sculpture Tiger Mothers, by artist Donna Dodson, and wooden sculptures by artist Thomas Matsuda. The latter pieces were tossed into a pond.

No one, however, has been trapped in any of the public arworks on display. Yet.

Saddened by the recent events, Mayor Joseph M. Petty and city manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. donated $500 to the artists whose works were damaged or demolished.

Now that a sixth work has been destroyed, Art in the Park staff seem to be reluctantly accepting the new reality. “We didn’t want to make a big deal of it,” Art in the Park executive director told the Telegram. “The artist came and took it away.”

Twenty-four other works remain on view, through October 11, by artists including Anne Kamilla Alexander, Caroline Bugby, Joe Fix, and Bennett Wine. The works were selected by a jury consisting of Susan Cross, curator at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; Amy Podmore, Williams College professor of art; and sculptor Steven Siegel.

At least one observer is unmoved by the spectacle. The lone comment on the Telegraph’s story, by Debbie Amaral, asks “Why does this surprise anyone? It is WORCESTER, you put art out in public and it will be destroyed. Geez.”

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Vandals Destroy Documenta Artwork by Jimmie Durham


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