I am working my way through the long list of comments I have received from you all, and in this installment am going to primarily focus on what is called public art that is/was highly visible, and quite bizarre, if not downright disturbing, as well as looking at several more places viewers’ have suggested.
This will be an on-going series, and it will take me awhile to go through the long list of what I have received so far , so if you have left a comment, or emailed me a suggestion, please bear with me as I work my way through them, and all the connections that I find a long with them!
If you have already made a comment, and haven’t seen anything about it yet, please feel free to comment about it again to make sure I have it on my list.
To start with, there are two subjects from the last post that I am going to revisit based on some notable comments I received.
The first subject is the Underground network stemming from what I shared about Underground Springfield, Missouri.
One commenter, LN, said that there is a huge mansion called The Pensmore in Highlandville, Missouri, and located above the network of tunnels in Springfield.
It is one of the largest homes in the United States, and was designed to withstand earthquakes, tornadoes and bomb blasts.
It’s construction is reported as having started in 2008 and it is still under construction today.
SA used to live just down the street from the Springfield Underground, and was a long-haul trucker at the time and made many different pick-ups and deliveries in the Springfield Underground and others, and said there are several more undergrounds like Springfield, in and around Kansas City – at Lenexa KS…
…SubTropolis in Kansas City, Missouri, which calls itself the “World’s Largest Underground Business Complex…”
…and in Carthage, MO, where the underground there is a collection of marble quarries.
SA’s question while down in there was always “how old are they and how did they build them?”
The answer given never quite hit the mark, and Missouri is “The Cave State,” after all.
Another commenter said that AmeriCold is the largest World Wide owner of underground facilities like these, and that these facilities are highly-classified areas.
AmeriCold started out as “Atlantic Coal and Ice” when Atlanta businessman Ernest Woodruff merged three cold storage warehouses, in 1903, and grew out of many more mergers and acquistions of cold storage companies.
Since 2010 when it acquired Versacold, AmeriCold became the largest, temperature-controlled warehousing and distribution services provider in the world…
…and is controlled by the Yucaipa Companies, an American Private Equity firm specializing in private equity and venture capital for middle-market companies, growth capital, industry consolidation; leveraged buy-outs; and turnaround investments.
Here is a history of the company’s activities from between 1987 and 2014.
I definitely get the feeling that this subterranean subject leads to the Mother of All Rabbit Holes….
The second subject I am going to revisit is based on my mention of the Japanese vine Kudzu in the last post, which has introduced in the United States at the 1872 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
It was promoted as a forage crop and ornamental plant until 1953, and planted by the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s at the behest of the Soil Conservation Service for erosion control.
Problem is, it kills other plants by smothering them underneath a solid blanket of leaves, and eventually takes over everything in its path, which raises the question about whether or not the Kudzu take-over of the South is an unintended consequence…or a planned act of environmental destruction?
PL left a comment in response to my mention of the kudzu plant, saying there are other possible biological terrorist acts to consider.
One is the Burmese python invasion in the Florida Everglades…
…where the pythons are taking over the land and killing many of the native species.
Researchers estimate there are anywhere between 30,000 and 300,000 of these pythons in South Florida.
The other is the Apple Snail problem in southwest Louisiana’s rice and crawfish farms, and are an invasive species that are not native here.
Apple Snails consume large quantities of plants, and damage important habitats for native fish and wildlife, and overpopulate their environments.
He said we are told that pet owners released these invasive species in significant enough numbers to produce breeding populations, and that those telling us this wont even consider a possible act of terrorism when it would be so easy to pull off.
Now on to new subjects.
RT suggested that I look into two identical sculptures entitled “The Awakening.”
Before I share what both of the “The Awakening’s” look like, I would like to insert that they were designed by John Seward Johnson II of the Johnson and Johnson family.
Seward Johnson was the grandson of Robert Wood Johnson…
…who had joined in partnership with his two brothers – James Wood Johnson and Edward Mead Johnson – in founding Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1886, becoming a major manufacturer of sterile surgical supplies, household products, and medical guides.
Seward Johnson was best-known for designing life-size bronze statues that were castings of people that were engaged in day-to-day activities, and he was the founder of the “Grounds for Sculpture” in 1992 in Hamilton,New Jersey, constructed on the location of the former Trenton Speedway, which was at the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds, both of which were closed at the same time in 1980.
Interesting that they would construct a sculpture garden on what would have been a power-node related to the State Fairgrounds and Trenton Speedway.
Now, here’s what I can find out about Seward Johnson’s creation “The Awakening.”
It is a 72-foot, or 22-meter, statue that depicts a giant embedded in the Earth, struggling to free himself.
There is one at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
It consists of 5 aluminum pieces buried in the ground in such a way that it gives the impression of a distressed giant attempting to free himself from the ground…
…with mouth in mid-scream as the giant struggles to emerge from the Earth.
Now seeing the Ferris Wheel across the way in this photo brings to mind a commenter’s question about what the deal is with Ferris Wheels.
I don’t know the answer to that question, but its a great question because they show up in a lot of places all over the world.
Are Ferris Wheels for the purpose of having fun, or do they have an ulterior purpose unbeknownst to the general public.
There is an identical sculpture in Chesterfield, Missouri.
There was even a duplicate of “The Awakening” that made a limited appearance at the”Grounds for Sculpture” for a Seward Johnson Retrospective a couple of years ago.
SV shared with me some information about statuary at the Marble Arch in London.
The architect John Nash (b. 1752 – d. 1835) was considered one of the foremost architects of the Regency Era, during the Georgian era from 1714 to 1830…
…and was credited with designing the Marble Arch in London in 1827, as the state entrance to the ceremonial courtyard of Buckingham Palace.
It is also interesting to note that only members of the royal family and its troop are permitted to pass through the arch in ceremonial processions.
SV explained that the Marble Arch is at a junction of very heavy traffic, redirecting cars and people along really important roads, such as Edgware Road, and Oxford Street…
…and that just beside the Arch are grounds with a small water pool, and fountains, where the Westminster City Council’s City of Sculpture Programme displays its commissions.
She said this statue was on display at the Marble Arch Park starting in 2015 until 2016, called ‘She Guardian,’ by Russian artist Dashi Namdakov.
While indications are the image was intended to be a “symbol of female strength and a desire to care for the young,” it’s effect on most on-lookers was that it appeared as demonic, “looking ready to devour with its fangs bared and the huge tips of its wings honed into giant spears.”
How about the bronze sculpture of a giant disembodied horses’ head captured as though the horse was drinking, sculpted by British artist Nic Fiddian-Green and installed at Marble Arch in 2011.
Ten-years later moved to a spot near Hyde Park Corner in May of 2021.
In 2016, David Breuer-Weil’s, 20-foot, or six-meter, high bronze sculpture called the “Brothers” was featured next to the Marble Arch, representing the joining together of two separate but connected individuals that, in this case, are siblings, joined by the head.
Here are some examples of David Breuer-Weil’s other sculptures around London, very reminiscent of Seward Johnson’s “Awakening” sculptures of the distressed giant attempting to free himself from the ground.
Other sculptures of the Westminster City Council’s City of Sculpture Programme have included:
Danse Gwenedour by Bushra Fakhoury in 2017, inspired by a dance performed by French villagers in Pourlet Country in Brittany.
Interesting take on the dancers in the sculpture, with no clothes and wearing bird-like-masks, unlike the dancers in Brittany, who are fully-dressed, and without those masks.
The dancers are depicted like birds, maybe?
Another sculpture by David Breuer-Weil was featured next to the Marble Arch in 2018, called “Flight…”
…and in December 2019, the featured sculpture was called “The Orphans, the Elephants of Tomorrow,” the work of artists Gillie and Marc.
The exhibit featured 21 life-size bronze elephants, a mother and 20 orphaned elephants, each orphan symbolizing a real elephant that lived at the “Sheldricke Wildlife Trust” in Kenya.
…and the one that is showing now is called “The Mound,” by Rotterdam-based architects MVRDV.
The reason I found given for the Mound having been commissioned by the Westminster Council, was at least in part, a novelty experience to give people a reason to come back to the shops in Westminster, which have suffered a decline in business in the last couple of years.
Other examples of unusual public art that I am aware of include:
The two headless, but otherwise well-muscled, bodies greeting the people who come to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, one male and one female, by California sculptor Robert Graham…
…the trolls at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest south of Louisville, Kentucky, made from recycled wood by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, and which have been on the grounds since 2019….
…the sculpture entitled the “Statue of the Resurrection,” said to depict Jesus rising from a crater in the Garden of Gethsemane, as well as the anguish of mankind living under the threat of nuclear war, and is located right behind where the Pope sits…
…in the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican…
…enormous spider statues, called “Maman,” originally designed by French-American artist Louise Bourgeois, that are found at various permanent locations all over the world, including, but not limited to the Tate Modern in London…
…the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa…
…and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain….
…and lastly the public statues that are found in Frogner Park, also known as the Vigeland Sculpture Park, in Oslo, Norway, dedicated to the works of Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland, and the centerpiece of the park is his 46-foot, or 14-meter, -high sculpture called “The Monolith.”
“The Monolith” is described as a symbolic sculpture consisting of 121 intertwined human figures, and said to represent the human desire to reach out to the Divine.
There are thirty-six sculptural groups situated immediately around “The Monolith,” including these…
…and these as well are found in the park.
The Vigeland Sculpture Park is the largest sculpture park in the world by one artist, with over 200 sculptures by Vigeland.
The human figures of all of the statues are naked, and the park’s overall theme is said to be the “Human Experience.”
These are just a few examples of these sculptures found in a public setting.
There are many more here, and they are all extremely disturbing.
All I had to do to find this place, which I had heard about in the past, was search for “creepy statue in Oslo, Norway.”
I wonder what are they telling us they are not telling us they are telling us with all of this creepy public art?
Is all of this public art some sort of soft disclosure, to circumvent the requirement of needing to tell us what they have done to Humanity, and are doing, without telling us they are telling us?
Putting this artwork in places where people can interact with it and accept it as “Art,” without knowing it is communicating to us something that has been very well-hidden about the world we are living in?
Next, RK suggested that I look into Buda Castle in Budapest, Hungary.
I am somewhat familiar with what is found at Buda Castle from past research, and this is a great place to bring it up, from what I already know about it.
I will get to that in a moment.
First, a quick review of what we are told about the history of Buda Castle.
It was the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian Kings, and first completed in 1265 AD, and that later, between 1749 and 1769, the massive Baroque palace occupying most of the site was built
The original royal palace was destroyed during World War II…
…and rebuilt in a simplified Stalin Baroque-style during the Kadar-era, with the reconstruction work on the castle completed in 1966.
Janos Kadar was a Hungarian Communist leader, and General-Secretary of the Hungarian-Socialist Workers’ Party from 1956 to 1988.
RK’s mother was involved in the reconstruction work on the complex.
The Budapest Castle Hill Funicular was said to have been first built in 1870.
Part of the destruction of the complex during World War II, it reopened in June of 1986.
Today, Buda Castle is home to the Hungarian National Art Gallery…
…and the Budapest History Museum.
There is also a labyrinth under Buda Castle, and this directly connects back to the underground network I spoke about at the beginning of this post, as well as something below the surface here that connects back to what we saw in London’s public art scene.
The Buda Castle labyrinth under Buda Caslle Hill is part of a huge underground system, complete with caves, thermal springs, basements and cellars.
Among other features, there are five separate labyrinths encompassing nine halls.
There is not much detail in the information I can find about this place.
I am going to specifically look at the Crowned Head in the Ottoman Alley because I know what is there from past research.
This half-crowned-head is found in there.
I find it to be extremely odd.
To me, this giant head looks more like a petrified head with long-gone eyes, that is covered up to the nose and ears by mud, than an intentional work of art…
…and this is the most I can find out about it in a search – that it was said to be a symbol of the downfall of the independent Hungarian kingdom.
I can find nothing about it being a work of art.
Yet this crowned-half-head underneath Buda Castle looks remarkably like the David Breuer-Weil sculpture called the “Visitor” back in London.
I don’t know the big picture answer of what we are actually looking at here.
I can only point out the similarity, and high strangeness, of both half-heads.
Next, KH was looking at old books of Tartaria in Asia, in an effort to match historical places with modern-day sites, and she came across an example of what she described as the apparent destruction of one of the sites.
She saw two forms of destruction though – one that is old and the other is being carried out today, as they are obliterating the past more and more.
Here is the picture she was looking at and trying to match it to modern day.
She found other references to the place in other old books, but could not find a modern day name, until she stumbled across an old picture of the mountain which led her to the town today.
The picture is entitled “Schamachy,” which she said was part of Persia at the time.
It was one of the key towns of the ancient trade route of the Silk Road that connected East and West.
Today, it is the city of “Shamakhi,” in Azerbaijan, in what is considered the South Caucasus region that spans Asia and Europe.
The Caucasus Mountain region is a part of the world that has been hotly-contested in the quest for who’s in control of it, and has seen much civil warfare, as well as horrible atrocities and genocide including what would be termed as ethnic cleansing, well into the present-day into modern times, including, but not limited to, the state of armed conflict which still exists between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region which is situated between the two countries, and which is officially-recognized as Azerbaijan’s territory, but it is occupied by Armenia.
There has been a literal blood-bath going on in this region for a very long-time.
KH said in the old image you can see where Shamakhi once was a star city.
Some places you can tell used to be star cities on modern maps and Google Earth, with the presence of bastions and such, or outlines of where they were, like Trujillo, Peru, pictured here…
…but apparently Shamakhi is not one of those places where you easily see where it was.
KH was very interested in the city on the hill in the background of the picture image of old Schamachy, and what I am able to find in a search is the location of, and information on, a place relatively nearby called the Gulustan Fortress.
In ruins, the legendary Gulustan Fortress of Shamakhi was said to have been built in the 8th- and 9th-centuries on top of a 656-foot, or 200-meter, -high rocky mountain in the northwest of Shamakhi, and we are told it existed until the end of the 16th-century, having been badly damaged by wars and earthquakes.
Interesting how the original masonry looks all covered over by earth and grass in these photographs of the ruins!
I think looking around the Gulustan Fortress area is even more telling about what might have actually taken place here.
The Yeddi Gumbaz Mausoleum complex and cemetery, also known as the “Seven Domes of Shamakhi,” is located at the foot of the Gulustan Fortress mountain.
Three of the seven mausoleums remain undamaged, and were said to have been built by the architect Usta Taghi in the early 19th-century, starting in 1810, for the family of Mustafa Khan, the last Khan of Shamakhi, who ruled from 1794 to 1820.
This mausoleum here is of particular interest to me for a number of reasons.
- The slanted Earth on the side of the mausoleum;
- The crooked appearance of the mausoleum from the entrance;
- The grass growing on the stone roof;
- The stones scattered in the grass;
- And the large, in several cases pointed & slanted, ancient stones of what we are told was a cemetery.
I am very sure there is much more to find here in Azerbaijan, but I am going to stop here, and pick up the trail of explorations from your wonderful suggestions in the next “Short & Sweet” installment.