Focus on Campus Art: 'Statue of Four Lies' Entertaining Yet Confusing

FourLies1At first glance, the bronze sculptures of two sharply-dressed men in suits and ties outside of Cougar Village I near Lynn Eusan Park comes across as a serious piece of artwork. A closer inspection, however, reveals quite a different reality.

The Statue of Four Lies,” which has called the University of Houston home since its installation in September 2010, is one of the more entertaining pieces in the entire UH Public Art Collection. The two male figures stand near commemorative plaques that are sprinkled with inaccuracies and lies. A bronze briefcase sits nearby, and a bronze toothbrush can also be found. Latin phrases are sprinkled about. A bronze book and wrench are also part of the layout. There also is a codex housed in the special collections section at the M.D. Anderson Library that may or may not help decipher the meaning.

All in all, the piece emits a level of kookiness intentionally designed to amuse those who walk around trying to figure out the puzzle of what it is all about and stands for.

fourlies2“The Statue of Four Lies” is the brainchild of Jack Massing and Michael Galbreth, two UH alumni who are known as The Art Guys. It is inspired by a statue at Harvard University nicknamed “Statue of Three Lies.” Massing and Galbreth are the two male figures represented in the sculpture.

Its unveiling on campus six years ago took place during a ceremony that rivaled and perhaps surpassed the artwork itself in regards to its level of zaniness and entertainment factor. The event included a petting zoo, UH cheerleaders and performance artists.

“Perhaps no piece of art on the UH campus is more of an enigma than the ‘Statue of Four Lies,’” said Michael Guidry, curator for the UH Public Art Collection. “People of all ages and backgrounds find it enjoyable to look at, study, and try to uncover its true meaning.”