The worst celebrity statues
Cristiano Ronaldo was born in Madeira, and the island recently honoured their most iconic footballing hero by renaming their airport after him, and unveiled a bronze bust in his honour. However, onlookers were quick to point out the statue looked more like The Head from the old kids’ TV show Art Attack than the four-times Ballon d’Or winner.
We’ve put together a list of five more celebrity statue disasters, from a kitsch ode to the King of Pop to the concrete tears of an indie legend.
In 2011, then-Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed installed a statue of the Michael Jackson outside Craven Cottage to the bemusement of the club’s fans. Al Fayed was a friend of Jackson, and the King of Pop even attended a match between Fulham and Wigan back in 1999. The statue was derided by critics and social media users alike, who described it as “kitsch” and questioned its relevance to the club. Shortly after Al Fayed sold the club to the magnificently-moustachioed tycoon Shahid Khan in 2013, the statue was taken down. Fulham were relegated from the Premier League that season, and Al-Fayed blamed the removal of the statue for causing the club’s relegation. That wasn’t the end for the MJ statue, though. In May 2014, it was moved to the National Football Museum in Manchester.
Sculptor Maggi Hambling’s ode to the Victorian novelist, poet and playwright Oscar Wilde features a disembodied head and hand sticking up out of a stone sarcophagus, and is titled “A Conversation with Oscar Wilde”. It’s fair to say it won’t challenge Michelangelo’s David in the all-time greatest statue stakes. We’re not sure what Wilde himself would make of it if he were alive to see it, but it looks more like a zombie clawing its way out of a stone coffin to us.
In 2014, Kurt Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen in the US state of Washington decided to cash in on their famous son’s stardom by declaring 20 February “Kurt Cobain Day”. To mark the day, which would have been the singer’s 47th birthday, a sombre statue of the star was unveiled, featuring him shedding a tacky concrete tear. Artist Randi Hubbard began work on the sculpture shortly after Cobain’s death in 1994, and offered it to the city during the intermittent two decades, but after initially refusing, they had a change of heart.
The honour of the strangest statue on this list goes to Apple founder Steve Jobs. In 2014, Serbian sculptor Dragan Radenovic revealed a bizarre sculpture on what would’ve been Jobs’ 59th birthday. His work features a metal representation of Jobs’ head perched on the top of an obelisk, with Cyrillic letters sprouting from the side of the pillar along with the numbers 1 and 0: a reference to the binary system.
In 2011, two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray received a statue in his honour ahead of the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Modelled on an anachronistic tennis racket-wielding terracotta warrior, Murray’s statue also appears to look more like his mum Judy than him. That probably went some way to explaining his visible shock when he unveiled it.