Worcester art under attack

posted by Mike on July 23rd, 2008

Cross-posted at Worcesteria.

There’s been a public art exhibit in Elm Park for the past few weeks. According to the Telegram & Gazette, one of the metal statues, Fern Cunningham’s “Massai Warrior Adorned,” was stolen.

Massai Warrior Adorned by Fern Cunningham
Photo courtesy WCCA TV13

The authorities think that “It was swiped from its pedestal sometime Saturday night or early Sunday morning,” but it was missing when I walked through the park Saturday after lunch.

Mike Benedetti photo

Another piece of art, described to me as “bikes in a net hanging from a tree,” was cut down and almost stolen before the thief was confronted:

“I came by, and there was someone who had taken it down and was dismantling it for parts,” Ms. Hall said. “I was, like, ‘Don’t you know better? What kind of example are you setting for these kids?'”

I love that this guy didn’t realize this was an art project.

One of my favorite pieces is a collection of curved boards designed to rest in the pond. “Recks Read” tells the tale of confronting someone trying to steal it:

I’m not sure why, but I immediately started taking pictures of him, I asked him if it was his work, if he was the artist, If was repairing the piece, he said no and proceeded to dismantled it.

Photo courtesy WCCA/Flickr

I’m not sure why someone would steal this, unless he had an appropriate pond to display it in. It’s not like warped wood has a lot of resale value.

The scrap metal business, on the other hand, is booming.

Correction: It’s been pointed out that the statue looked metallic, but was metal-coated polyester. Despite this, the police suspect someone, thinking it was bronze, stole it for scrap.

Did the artist take precautions?

The warrior statue’s creator, sculptor Fern Cunningham of Hanson, said the piece was securely attached to the base with epoxy and a bolt. The work, valued at $6,000, has made it through other outdoor shows without incident. “It was just in Sioux City for a year, and nothing happened to it,” she said. Ms. Cunningham said she was very distressed by the theft. “It was one of my favorite pieces,” she said.

Looks like, in 2008, epoxy and a bolt isn’t going to stop someone from cashing in. (If the thief figured out the statue wasn’t metal, and thus had no scrap value, does this mean it was stolen as a prank?)

A few weeks back, I interviewed Jacob Berendes about this art show, and he confessed that he and Nik Perry snuck an artificial Christmas tree into Elm Park and added it to the collection. That only survived two days.

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One Comment Leave a comment.

  1. On July 23, 2008 at 09:40 Josef Ameur said:

    Thats horrible. I saw some little kid inside the curved board thingy.

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