Wednesday, June 27, 2012


In my last sketch post, I shared a sketch I did of one of the 4 hideous sculptures collectively entitled "Odyssey", that loom over the bridge in Council Bluffs, like Edward Scissorhands' hands if Edward were 500 feet tall, had 4 hands, let them get all rusty, got rabies and went feral.

What I didn't say was that I misunderstood the assignment at first and thought we were also to write some sort of a short essay on why we chose the art we did, and research our choice. It turned out that all we needed to do was write a brief explanation, but since I took the trouble to do all the research and write this thing, I thought I might as well share it with all of you. You wanted to read all about an ugly statue right?

Albert Paley's "Odyssey"

In case you didn't recognize it from my sketch, this is that massive sculpture that is on the bridge as you enter Council Bluffs from Omaha.

I picked this one because I thought it would be more interesting if I did a sketch of something I hated, rather than just do something I really liked.

This piece is just plain ugly. My best description for it is a "hideous eyesore." One good thing I can say for it is that it's fun to insult. For example: "It looks like a scrapyard threw up on the bridge and a half blind chimp welded it all together."

Aside from the pain it causes people's eyes, it has caused physical pain as well, as it was cited as the cause of a car crash about two years ago.

The reaction to it has been overwhelmingly negative from what I have seen on the internet. Comments I found, ranged from people saying it reminded them of a horror movie, to someone who said "It just doesn't look inviting here. 'Come on people, stop in, we're going to stab you.'"

The project was put forth by the Iowa West Foundation who say it is an Odyssey and a gateway to Council Bluffs. The CEO of the foundation, in trying to defend it from all the negative comments, had the gall to compare it to the Eiffel Tower saying that it also caused an outrage when it was built.

Personally I hope that someday Council Bluffs will come to its senses and tear it down.

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