For centuries, statues and monuments have been the chosen method of enshrining those worthy of the honor. But once in a while tribute gets paid to nothing more than the visions of an artist whose explanation is even less intelligible than their masterpiece itself. But. Art is art. It’s subjective. There’s no such thing as good or bad. There are only opinions.
Here’s a collection of the most humorous, bizarre, weird, really strange but sometimes kind of cool tributes in the world, paid with or without just cause. There are lots of stupid and questionable ones in the world, but after viewing hundreds of them, these took the cake. Have a look. Be the beholder. You know what they say…
1 Russian Enema Monument
What could be cuter than three angels holding an 800-pound brass enema syringe bulb on their backs? Russian artist Alexander Kharchenko claims the enema is almost a symbol of the culture in their region in the Caucasus Mountains where there are dozens of spas which are known for treating digestive problems with mountain mineral water. Hint: They don’t drink it.
2 Shit Fountain
Appropriately named, it resembles a freshly dumped hot steaming pile of dog poo. So why would anyone pay tribute to a chewed up, swallowed, properly digested and deposited bowl of Gravy Train? Actually, it isn’t a tribute as much as it is a reminder for people to pick up after their pets. Message received.
3 Fountain of the Eater of Little Children
This one should make kids scream with horror. It’s the Kindlifresser sculpture in Bern, Switzerland and it’s from the 16th century. There are numerous theories as to its meaning from being a likeness of Krampus, a methodical beast in the Alps who went around just before Christmas eating children who had misbehaved, to a guy who was so jealous of his brother he went into town and feasted on all the kids. The real story remains a mystery. Whatever the case, there’s still room for more theories so create your own like everyone else does.
4 Traffic Light Tree
Stop. No, go. Slow down. Go, again. Quick, stop. Can you even imagine? Located on a roundabout in London, this is the work of French sculptor, Pierre Vivant. There are 75 total sets of lights all controlled by a computer. The artist had this to say about his handiwork, “The Sculpture imitates the natural landscape of the adjacent London Plane Trees, while the changing pattern of the lights reveals and reflects the never-ending rhythm of the surrounding domestic, financial and commercial activities.”
Okay, buddy. The Public Art Commissions Agency followed up with, “The arbitrary cycle of light changes is not supposed to mimic the seasonal rhythm of nature, but the restlessness of Canary Wharf.” Sure thing.
5 A King Riding an Upside Down Horse
Prague artist David Černý keeps his head in the twilight zone. This is not the only ‘odd’ contribution produced by this artist’s loving hands, guided by his rather deranged mind. There is a statue located at Wenceslas Square of King Wenceslas riding a horse. This isn’t it. This one is a mocking tribute to that one.
You’ll find it in Prague, hanging from the ceiling at Art Nouveaux Lucerna Palace.
6 Two Guys Peeing
As long as we’re already in Prague, and as long as you’ve already seen one vision from the strange mind of David Černý, try and figure this one out. Not only are these two men relieving themselves, though it’s hard to see, they are tracing out Czech literary quotes with their pee.
As if this wasn’t enough, Černý couldn’t stop there. Perish the thought. If you text a message to a certain number, the statues will pee it out for you.
7 The Travellers Have Arrived
The coastal walk of Bondi Australia is a refuge for backpackers. Each year they host an arts festival. The creators of this highly acclaimed piece of art claim it portrays Bondi as being a sort of modern-day Bethlehem. It is also intended to deliver a message telling us we’re all just ants inside of an ant farm. Huh? Well. There ‘ya go.
8 Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Museum
Perhaps you should be your own judge as to what this might be a tribute to. It’s a museum just the same, and people really do go there. In a suburb of San Antonio, Texas, lives Barney Smith. Born in 1921 into a family of plumbers, he had little choice but to follow suit, but he loves art and started decorating toilet seats 50 years ago. Now retired, Smith has painted enough of them to open a museum. The last count he’s up into the high 1300’s.
9 The Thumb
How else could this be interpreted? It’s a big old giant thumb. Period. But of course, to artist Cesar Baldaccini who sculpted this giant tribute to a hitchhikers transportation in 1965, it symbolizes the thumbs up sign for good luck. It’s in Paris.
10 Passing Through Walls
Also located in gay Paree’ is this tribute to the supernatural. It takes first-time visitors by surprise. Marcel Ayme, a Parisian author, created the character of M. Dutilleul, a man who one day discovered he could walk through walls. He used his newfound super-power to rob, pillage, and even carry on an affair. He suddenly lost his power midway between a brick wall and got stuck.
It’s almost customary for passers-by to grab the bronze hand and try pulling the character out. This statue is not widely known outside of France.
11 The Gesture
A real quick honorary mention for this one. Lots of us can understand what the artist must have been thinking. He just might have taken things a bit to far. This is yet another David Černý creation, located in Prague.
The world is full of odd and unusual tributes. These are but a few. Do you know of some, not on this list? How about sharing. We’d love to take a gander.