OMG: Prague artist beats me to the punch … I mean, the finger.


Back on October 9, with Downtown Displacement Days approaching and a mounting sense of annoyance, I posted a Facebook update.

If I mounted a statue of a middle-finger salute the approximate size of the Colossus of Rhodes atop Bank Street Brewhouse, would that qualify as public art? Because it’s sounding mighty appealing right about now.

There were some extremely witty replies. Now I learn that someone else already has done it, and in Prague, one of my favorite cities in the world.

Here is the whole sad story of how we missed our chance.

I want one, damn it. Come to think of it, I have one … a photo will appear at an opportune time in the future. After all, a council meeting is never very far away.

Angry at Prague, Artist Ensures He’s Understood, by Dan Bilefsky (NYT)

PARIS — “The finger,” said the Czech sculptor David Cerny, “speaks for itself.” On that point, at least, everyone could agree.

Mr. Cerny is not known for understatement or diplomacy, from depicting Germany as a network of motorways resembling a swastika to displaying a caricature of a former Czech president inside an enormous fiberglass rear end.

But on Monday, Mr. Cerny, 45, took his political satire to new heights — or depths, depending on your perspective — when, on the eve of Czech general elections this weekend, he installed on the Vltava River a 30-foot-high, plastic, purple hand with a raised middle finger. It is a symbol, he said, that points directly at the Prague Castle, the seat of the current Czech president, Milos Zeman …

 … He said the sculpture, which he gave an unprintable title, was also aimed at the country’s Communist Party, which could gain a share of power in the coming elections for the first time since the revolution that overthrew communism more than two decades ago …

 … The sculpture is part of a Czech tradition of cultural rebellion dating to communist times, when artists, writers and musicians like the Plastic People of the Universe used subversive lyrics or gestures to revolt against authority.