In theory, public art is a good thing -- it promotes imagination and creativity while beautifying the world. But -- if recent headlines are any indicator -- it seems like artists are increasingly using "public art" as an excuse to foist hellacious nightmare creatures upon an unsuspecting public.
#5. Australia's $300,000 Flying Boob Monster
Australia is home to species upon species of unusually terrifying animals. So it's unsurprising that, during their leisure time, Australians wile away the hours inventing critters too horrid for reality.
Oh, hey, God's dead. What else could this mean?
What in the name of Paul Hogan are we talking about? Meet The SkyWhale. According to Australian artist Patricia Piccinni, this hot air balloon is a commentary on the wonders of evolution. And according to a lot of people, The SkyWhale looks like an 111-foot-wide, 75-foot-tall dugong fetus wearing a Rastafarian wig made of tits.
Or Newt Gingrich with better hair.
It's understandable how The SkyWhale throws bystanders for a loop -- after all, even the most cleavage-obsessed horndogs don't want freaky disembodied mammary zeppelins to wear the face of that wrinkly giant tortoise from The Neverending Story.
But The Skywhale has riled Australians up on a whole other level. After this breast beast debuted this past May to celebrate the centenary of the Australian capital of Canberra, it came to light that The Skywhale cost taxpayers somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 American dollars.
Otherwise known as "a bargain."
Advocates of The Skywhale have argued that $300,000 is a bargain for a piece of public art, but, come on -- the organizers had to have seen this controversy coming from a mile away. Were they familiar with Piccinni's other sculptures?
Oh shit, that's definitely Newt again.
#4. Arizona's 9-Foot-Tall, Dong-Sporting Gargoyle
While The SkyWhale spreads the joy of manatee knockers over the skies of southeast Australia -- half a world away -- another man is teaching the gospel of monster dicks to central Arizona.
When sculptor David Smith moved to the small town of Paulden from the bustling metropolis of Phoenix, he brought his 9-foot-tall, exposed-penis gargoyle with him to display on his front lawn. After all, he had displayed this nude grotesque for six years in Phoenix -- why would Paulden be any different?
My Fox Phoenix
Rural southern communities are normally so tolerant of social deviance!
But while those Phoenix city slickers may tolerate the schlongs of fantasy fauna, the people of Paulden weren't having it. Yavapai County authorities instructed Smith to remove the sculpture, but Smith resisted. ("It just seemed like [the penis] needed to be there. I don't like Ken dolls," he opined.)
He's not big on G.I. Joes, either.
The last we heard, Smith had taken this matter to the courts. "Thomas Jefferson said if you're not offended twice a day, you're not living in a free society," he said (describing a scenario that would've been met with blank stares by The Founding Fathers). We wish Smith all the best in his upcoming legal battle, as an entire of body of gargoyle-dong-related jurisprudence rests upon the court's decision.
#3. This Ghoulish Freddie Mercury Gorilla Statue
Recently, the city of Norwich, England removed a statue of a gorilla painted to look like Freddie Mercury after complaints from the deceased Queen frontman's estate.
Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer / Getty
Mr. Mercury's austere dignity has been forever tarnished.
According to Queen guitarist/astrophysicist Brian May, a "number of people thought [the statue] was a crude and insulting effort," which is a polite way of saying, "That piece of shit looked like Freddie Mercury if he received third-degree burns mid-way through transforming into The Hulk."
Mercury's estate asked for a repaint of the mutated Mercury, which was part of one of those zany public art things cities do to attract visitors (in lieu of investing in infrastructure).
May further noted that not repainting the gorilla would open the door for companies "making Freddie elephants or antelopes, or whatever." (We can only assume that "whatever" is code for "SkyWhales.")
Actually, that would have been much more appropriate.
#2. Chris Brown's Cartoon Monster Graffiti
Perplexingly famous Law & Order episode-inspirer/all-around awful human being Chris Brown recently got into hot water with his neighbors when he painted googly-eyed monsters on the exterior of his Hollywood Hills home. According to the head of the neighborhood civic association, these "devils on the wall" were scaring children and babies.
Barbara Davidson / LA Times
Making this one of the least offensive ways Chris Brown ever made the news.
Facing fines from the city of Los Angeles, Brown -- who is not renowned around the globe for his sense of child-like whimsy -- painted over this mural by his own choice (or so he claimed). Maybe Brown realized that these Trapper Keeper doodles not-so-subtly conveyed that A) a monster lived in the house, and B) by extension, Brown spends his days conversing with a candelabra and a teacup.
#1. Sweden's Giant, Urinating Gollum
And finally, clocking in at shudder-inducing 26 feet tall, we have the sculpture Bad Bad Boy by artist Tommi Toija. Until Sept. 1, this frightening man-child will stand at the side of the River Svartan in the Swedish town of Orebro, emptying his magical bladder for weeks on end to celebrate the town's arts festival.
The Local / Emma Cullen
Later, in October, he'll help the Germans celebrate a more fitting festival.
According to local news, Orebro residents are more befuddled than aghast by Bad Bad Boy. But for the artist, his aesthetic vision was clear -- "For me, it's just a guy peeing in the river," explains Toija. Dude, don't you realize that you're doing nothing to dispel the stereotype that Scandinavia's just filthy with trolls?
The Local / Emma Cullen
To make sure this piece came out perfect, the sculptor observed Andy Serkis urinate for several months without stopping.