Worst public art: Horses, Appeal to Spirit

Kanarinka nominates the following two Boston artworks for our Worst Public Art in New England project (submit your own nominations):

  • The horses circling each other outside the Copley Mall entrance on Dartmouth St. [Debroah Butterfield's "Paint and Henry"] – particularly because they were at first alone but then someone landscaped a weird garden-circle around them and it makes no sense why abstract horses would stand in a landscaped garden to have a fight.
  • I really just don’t know about the Indian statue outside the MFA [Cyrus Dallin's "Appeal to the Great Spirit"] … There’s something just weird about it. Maybe it’s that the history of museums is so tied up with the history of the obliteration of a group of people that there is some terrible irony to the noble savage -heroic-tragic- interpretations of American Indians. There’s some kind of weird other-ing happening that feels very anachronistic and sort of wrong now.
  • 3 Responses to “Worst public art: Horses, Appeal to Spirit”

    1. Ed Beem says:

      What are you, an equiphobic? The horses are fine.

    2. donna dodson says:

      I like deborah Butterfield’s horses but your insightful comments about the great spirit piece are appreciated. I think public art’s value is not necessarily its popularity but its ability to provoke dialogue. I think the bronze figures on the back side on the BPL are far worse. I’d like to nominate those.

    3. Lori Bradley says:

      The sculptor of “Appeal to the Great Spirit,” Cyris Dallin grew up in Utah and was supposedly moved by the plight of native people he met there. He moved to Boston and taught sculpture at Mass College of Art for over 40 years – probably the reason his sculpture sits outside the MFA. It was cast in Paris and there are only 3 full size versions in the world, including the one at the MFA. I think its beautiful.