Designer David McCandless of Information is Beautiful has created a fascinating world map called International Number Ones. “Because every country is the best at something,” McCandless also offers the caveat that this accolade is “according to data,” which makes perfect sense once you study the map. Being the number one at something isn’t necessarily a compliment. Many countries are the “best” when it comes to issues that are morally reprehensible.
For today’s compilation post, I decided to put together some of my favorite sculptures. These ten have been chosen because they each possess a slightly dark feeling. I call them wickedly cool and though some lean more towards cool than wicked, they’re all meant to give you a lasting memory and even, perhaps, a few goosebumps.
Crack The Whip
A sweet cemetery sculpture gets a bit creepy when an anonymous person places birthday party hats on their heads and brightly colored beads around their necks. This grouping of sculptures, by J. Seward Johnson, bring back memories of childhood days, and is one of the many focal points in the cemetery.
Location: Sunset Hills Cemetery
Photo credit: Blooms n’ Twigs
J. Seward Johnson also created The Awakening, a 100-foot statue of a giant embedded in the earth, struggling to free himself. The statue consists of five separate aluminum pieces buried in the ground, giving the impression of a panicked giant trying to pull himself to the surface.
Current Location: National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Maryland, just outside the District of Columbia.
American Merchant Mariners' Memorial
The memorial, designed by artist Marisol, was based on a true event during World War II, in which a Nazi U-boat attacked an American merchant marine vessel. While the marines held on to their sinking vessel, the Nazis photographed the victims, then left. The memorial is directly inspired by one of those photographs.
Location: West side of Battery Park, New York
What You See Might Not Be Real
Chen Wenling’s sculpture shows a bull, meant to represent Wall Street, seen ramming the biggest con man of all time, Bernie Madoff, into a wall. The huge cloud coming out of the bull’s rear not only refers to the end of a greedy era, but also symbolizes the danger of virtual bubbles in international financial markets.
Location: Beijing gallery
Melting Ice Cream Truck
Orest Keywan won $30,000 for the Sulpture by the Sea prize in 2006. Constructed with steel, stainless steel, sandstone and limestone, the piece evokes memories of shifting landscapes. Also a reference to global warming? Perhaps.
Location: Tamarama Beach, Australia
Sayaka Kajita Ganz created these wild horse sculptures from trash-picked objects like plastic utensils, toys, and metals. She says, "By building these sculptures I try to understand the human relationships that surround me. It is a way for me to contemplate and remind myself that even if there is conflict right now, there is a way for all the pieces to fit together."
Location: Roaming Exhibitions
Though the jury’s still out as to whether this sculpture by Neil Dawson is in fact an optical illusion sculpture or a hoax, we’re going with the former. The sculpture almost makes us feel as if we’re living in a cartoon world.
Location: New Zealand on "The Farm," a large private art park owned by Alan Gibbs.
Like a creature escaping from a nightmare, or a larger-than-life embodiment of a secret childhood fear, the giant spider Maman casts a powerful physical and psychological shadow. Over 30 feet high, the mammoth sculpture is one of the most ambitious undertakings in the long career of Louse Bourgeois.
Location: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Device to Root out Evil
Dennis Oppenheim created this upside-down church made of galvanized structural steel, anodized perforated aluminum, transparent red Venetian glass, and concrete. Balancing on its steeple, the church is meant to look like it has been lifted by a terrific force and brought to the site as a method of rooting out evil forces.
Location: Harbour Green Park, Coal Harbour, Vancouver.
Photo credit: darian_marcus
Marc Quinn’s Self is a reproduction of the British artist's head composed of nine pints of his own frozen blood. It’s Quinn’s signature piece in the art world and it took him over a period of 5 months to complete. Can you say bloody brilliant?
Location: Some twisted person’s fridge