Painter and blogger Joanne Mattera of Salem, Massachusetts, and Manhattan, nominates the 2005 sculpture of Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stephens from the 1960s TV show “Bewitched” for our Worst Public Art in New England project (submit your own nominations). The bronze, which was commissioned by TV Land cable network from StudioEIS in Brooklyn, New York, sits at the intersection of Washington and Essex streets in Salem, Massachusetts.
“I nominate the ‘Samantha’ statue in Salem, Mass., as the WORST public statue in New England or anywhere. Even worse than the ‘art’ itself is how it got to Salem. TV Land, the network, donated it. It’s an AD! TV Land, which shows reruns from the past several decades, has a history of donating ‘art’ in this way: Ralph Cramden is poised in perpetuity outside the Port Authority Bus Station in Manhattan; the Fonz is in Milwaukee; Andy Griffith is in Raleigh; and there’s a statue of Mary Richards tossing her hat up into the air somewhere in Minneapolis.”
Before the bronze was installed, one Salem resident complained that it disgraced the legacy of the innocent people people falsely convicted and executed as witches in 1692: “It’s like TV Land going to Auschwitz and proposing to erect a statue of Colonel Klink.”
A list of all the Worst Public Art nominees so far is here.
Photo by The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research.