The Kook Abides


Feeling glum about life, art, politicians, California, or all four? Then read this uplifting Wall Street Journal tale about what happens when bad art hits bad people in a badly named town. Now there's finally another reason to pull off the 101 besides The Kraken.


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  1. Can we chrome the whole thing and make it Norrin Radd?

  2. Good thing other cities are too smart to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on public art no one wants.

    1. According to the article, the Cardiff botanical society paid for the statue, not the city or taxpayers.

      1. Ah, I missed that. I feel terrible. If only some spammers would come along offering me cheap jeans and boots…

        1. Hey, don’t make fun. How else would I have found out the abomination that is Uggs For Men?

          1. I need me some scarves.

      2. That explains why it’s a statue of a human, not some sort of abstract geometrical abomination. Christ, I hate public art.

        “I’ll take one art, please!”

  3. true religion jeans is very good jeans style.. good looking.. so many people bought them from .you can try too. lol

  4. true religion jeans is very good jeans style.. good looking.. so many people bought them from me.. lol.

  5. what happens when bad art hits bad people in a badly named town. Now there’s finally another reason to pull off the 101 besides The Kraken

  6. Feeling glum about life, art, politicians, California, or all four? Then read this uplifting Wall Street Journal tale about what happens when bad art hits bad people in a badly named town. Now there’s finally another reason to pull off the 101 besides The Kraken. I like this words.. good looks.

  7. Then read this uplifting Wall Street Journal tale about what happens when bad art hits bad people in a badly named town. Now there’s finally another reason to pull off the 101 besides The Kraken. I like this words.. good looks.. but it need to be right this time.. no people want wrong.

  8. The first photo of the story makes it look like he’s trying to surf away on a huge tidal wave of diarrhea coming out of his own ass.

    1. That would be an amazing and disgusting superpower.

      1. The silver Brown Surfer?

        1. Pooperman?

            1. Assman and Throbbin?

              1. Poopwave: The Human Wonder

                1. “Having ingested an irradiated jalepeno popper…”

            2. Hang 2?

  9. There has never been a more put-upon, oppressed, and neglected minority group than surfers. Usually the world is just out to take away their beaches and waves. But even attempts to honor them just result in degrading minstrel shows like this.

    1. The surf community was adequately honored in the film Point Break, so they have nothing to bitch about.

  10. I think that’s a nice, sweet little story. Thanks for that.

  11. Still better than what passes for taxpayer-funded “art” in my neck of the woods. If ever a spiteful and sadistic god forces you to spend a weekend in New Britain, Connecticut, check out the big-ass twisted piece of metal embedded in the sidewalk in front of the community theater. At first you might think “How lovely! New Britain is showing solidarity with Old Britain by displaying twisted metal wreckage left over from the Blitz!” But no — ’tis modern art, and property taxes are still rising every year so the government can afford to pay for vital services like embedding big-ass twisted hunks of metal in the sidewalks.

    1. One of the best pieces of public statuary I have ever seen was in Minneapolis, MN. It was in front of a government building. The sculpture was of a cartoonish bird sitting on about an eight foot-mound of what appears to be bird shit. It’s as if the bird had been sitting in front of city hall just shitting for months and months.

      Very appropriate / relevant.

      1. What, no link?


          The best I can find on teh internets….

      2. It is, indeed, cool. Many of our city pols detest it!

    2. At some point in the last 100 years the art world decided that good art could only be so if it offended the aesthetic sensibilities of 95% of the population. This did two things. As the public’s sensibilities changed and opened up it became increasingly hard to offend them. So art became more and more bizarre. And second, with the art community being totally uninterested in producing anything the public might like, the vacuum was filled by awful hacks like Thomas Kinkade. Basically, art is dying.

      1. You’re rather a crackpot. Most artists create schlock that people want. For instance: pop music, television and the cinema.

        1. I am speaking of high art, painting sculpture, classical music. We don’t produce great art anymore. We just don’t. We produce some really good middle brow art, movies, pop music, things like that. But we don’t produce great high art. Read a history 20th Century classical music sometime for the best example of this. The composers of classical music moved so far away they actually rejected the entire concept of producing music that anyone wanted to listen to. See for example this famous essay from 1958

          I am not a crackpot. You just don’t know much.

          1. I believe you’re getting your terms mixed up. Classical was an era of music, like Baroque, and is therefore clearly over and done. You may be referring to Orchestral music though.

            1. Actually, Classical is now considered a catch all phrase for “orchestral music”. I used to make the same distinction you are making until I read this book. In it the guy refers to 20th Century “Classical music”. I figured if the term was good enough for the music critic at the New Yorker, it was good enough for me.


          2. I am not a crackpot. You just don’t know much.

            I know that quite often you are full of shit.

            1. Perhaps so. But not this time.

          3. Complete nonsense. You sound like some crackpot Objectivist that would just as soon prefer to see third rate neo-classicism be made the only “art” in existence. The past half-century has seen the creation of some of the greatest work known to man. I won’t even begin on how much amazing music has been produced in the past decade. And who is this “we”, Kemosabe? You want “great” art? No one is stopping you from making some.

            1. The problem is that you and John are talking about different objects.

              John considers “art” to be an object of great beauty.

              In the modern era, “art” is anything that produces a strong emotional reaction of any kind.

              The question of whether the 20th century produced great art is dependent upon what definition you employ.

              I tend to think that it’s useful to look at the history of music to understand what has happened in the plastic arts. When societies were poor and technical perfection in music was difficult to attain, the most valued music was proficient and as a result beautiful. Perfect singing pitch, technical brilliance in instrumental performance, well-ordered composition and arrangement – these were very hard to find, and rare, and thus were highly valued. But when society became wealthy and leisure time expanded and more people devoted more time to music, all of a sudden proficiency in music became too common to be valued. A technically proficient singing performer is derided as a “cruise ship singer” now. Instead what’s sought out is emotional rawness and authenticity, because that’s what’s rare.

              In the plastic arts, when perfect technique became too common, it was no longer valued. Painting, for example, that would have stupefied a medieval court with its beauty and its mimicry of life is now derided as “Sears art” because too many people can do it. What’s rare now is insight, and so that’s what’s valued. But not everyone got the memo, and the ones who didn’t get it aren’t impressed by wry or “insightful” art and aren’t moved by it – and so we get discussions like the one you’re having with John.

              1. Dang, Fluffy. Kind of working an Appolonian-Dionysian vein, there, but I hadn’t thought of it that way.

          4. I think the distinction between high art and all else has become blurred to the point of irrelevancy. I’m sure at some point an astute critic will watch something the likes of Jersey Shore and find something sublime sublime.

            Due to the internet and overall freedom of information we see more pastiche, or reimagination of things that once were. This is good. If anything art is getting better and more people can be artists. High art may be dead, but good art isn’t. High art was simply consumed and altered.

    3. There is a public sculpture somewhere in downtown Denver (16th street I imagine) of a Native American warrior being impaled from behind by an eagle.

      There may be some symbolism in that one.

    4. Where’s a picture?

      The rest of us want to gawk at this monstrosity.

  12. And the WSJ also has an article titled “On Vacation With a Virtual Girlfriend”. Why does this make me think of a former Reason staffer?

    1. Denys Arcand should make a sequel “Le d?clin de l’empire japonais”

  13. Still, the abuse has been heartbreaking for Matthew Antichevich, the Kook’s creator. The statue was his first public piece, so Mr. Antichevich, a surfer himself, says he’s been “devastated” by the negative reaction. “I’m totally destroyed as an artist trying to do public art,” he says.

    Oh man, that is GOLD.

    1. Actually, I feel for this guy…

      Poor guy gets hired to make a sculpture for the community (not on the public dime, however), he gives his best effort, spends years creating it, and its a miserable failure.

      That’s gotta be a heartbreaker.

    2. Actually, I feel for this guy…

      Poor guy gets hired to make a sculpture for the community (not on the public dime, however), he gives his best effort, spends years creating it, and its a miserable failure.

      That’s gotta be a heartbreaker.

      1. Yea, I feel so bad I just had to tell you twice.

        1. What makes it worse is the fact that as far as I can tell, the decision to make the surfer a novice klutz was mutual – it was part of the conception of the work requested by the patron.

          So the guy provided the art the patron wanted, and people hate him for it.


    3. The better comment is from the guy who keeps japing the statue.

      About a year ago, Mr. Hardtke added a massive wave to the city’s statue. The wave?made from wood, paper and chicken wire?towered above the Kook and depicted a more aggressive surfer about to cut him off. “It was to make the point that you could make a better sculpture for less money,” says Mr. Hardtke.

      Recently, Mr. Hardtke topped his wave with a new piece: Just before dawn on July 24, he and a dozen friends carried the 15-foot shark?crafted out of papier-m?ch? over a wooden frame?a few blocks to the beach, installing it in just 15 minutes. Those were merely the final moments of a two-week project for Mr. Hardtke, who guesses he spent roughly $450 building the shark.

      It really has to be sand in the vaseline for the guy to point out that his $450 shark is more beloved than your $120,000 surf punk.

  14. This story is not perfect; it is missing a SWAT team raid.

    1. I think if you put up a “SWAT Team Bronze” showing heavily armored cops breaking in on a terrorized sleeping family, the cops and the badge lickers would think it a complement.

  15. The week before the prank, Mr. Hardtke laid some fins across the street from the Kook. Over the next few days, the fins were moved closer and closer until they sat at the base of the statue.

  16. Squirrels done et mah comment.

  17. “To me, these things are really works of art,” says Mr. Dalager. He adds: “Not that we condone this type of activity.”

    Let me be clear. I feel much the same way about comments on Hit & Run.


    Hostage situation in Maryland! News helicopters hovering over evacuated streets! Cable-news channels reporting on the news helicopters hovering over the evacuated streets!

    1. It is at the Discovery Channel Headquarters. They own TLC. I wonder if one their midgets finally went nuts. Or maybe the chick with 8 kids finally snapped.

      1. I wonder if one their midgets finally went nuts

        I suspect the Pit Boss. But he’s a dwarf. Big difference.

      2. Do they do the show about hoarders? Maybe an ammo hoarder got offended.

        1. Yes they do. And that is a good theory.

        2. Or maybe a picker mistook a hoarder as a collector and killed a dwarf just for the hell of it with his custom hog.

          1. Where do the pawnshop dirtbags come in?

            1. I think that’s the History Channel. Moron.

              1. Remember when the History Channel had shows about history? It was glorious back when I could watch a 2-hour documentary about the battle of Kursk that went into excruciating detail about the order of battle. Now it’s all pawnshops and alien conspiracy theories.

                1. And haunted-house charlatans.

                2. I remember when the History Channel first debuted. They started out with a PBS quality documentary on the Revolutionary War and then had this great six part series called Nautilus about the history of the Submarine. It was grand. Then slowly it just kept dumbing itself down. Now it is shows for 8 year old boys (swamp loggers) and shows for 30 year old morons (Pawn Stars).

                3. Are they the ones with Ghost Hunters?

                  “The gayest fucking show ever!”

                  1. I think that might be TLC but I am not sure. And that isn’t half as gay as the Nostrodomus shows History runs about once a quarter, although it is pretty gay.

                4. I always thought the H in their logo stood for Hitler.

                  1. Those were the days. Back when they played the original BBC World At War series. And had real documentaries. It really used to be the Hitler channel. Now, not so much.

          2. Meanwhile, the news helicopter keeps circling the uninteresting buildings as various theorists and passersby call in and share their purely speculative ideas and rumors. 21st century reportage at its finest.

        3. Why would an ammo hoarder use up his precious ammo hoard?

          Maybe you should take a time-out before you embarrass yourself further.

          1. Good point. I am still betting on it being a midget. Midget reality show stars creep me out as much as clowns.

          2. It’s ok for ammo hoarders to shoot people, as long as they buy ammo from the store right before they do it. I wouldn’t want to use up any of my precious, historic antique ammo, but who cares about a fresh box of Hornady?

            I really wish you’d think these things through.

            1. New ammo? What self-respecting hoarder would fool with a hipster brand like Hornady? Might as well show up to a hostage taking in skinny-jeans and a striped cardigan.

              Happy with your choice now, Gobbler? Huh? Look upon your so-called favorite commenter and DESPAIR!

              1. Hornady isn’t hipster, you idiot. I use them in my Tomcat.

                Cor-bon is. Yeah, I said it.

                1. I use them in my Tomcat.

                  Is that before or after you get drunk on sake-tinis at the dyke cabaret?

                2. You have a Beretta? I might have known.

            2. Does Discovery Channel do any cooking shows? ‘Cause I could see a pierced and tatted lesbian line cook flipping out over a poor Judge’s Table review of her deconstructed minestrone soup.

            3. Wow! That really makes sense! LOL!



      3. They own TLC.

        Maybe he’s going to hold everyone hostage until Kari loses some fucking weight.

      1. He is a lefty Luddite environmentalist. His manifesto will be purged immediately. He will be portrayed in the press as an angry white male with no further explanation. Now if he once had commented favorably on a Tea Party website, we will hear all about that.

        1. Captain Paul Starks, of the Montgomery County Police, said in a briefing with reporters outside the building that the gunman is an Asian male. “His concerns are with the Discovery Corporation right now,”

          1. He’s protesting the removal of CHOMPY.

            I, of course, support his violent pro-Chompy views.

          2. He’s a guy named Lee and has had previous run-ins with Discovery and planet killing ways.

            His levelheaded, clear and concise demands are at this cache of his website:


      2. Oh man, I hope that explosive device is composed of Pepto Bismo, cell phones and watches!

  19. In Corpus Christi, Texas, the city spent $20,000+ commissioning a sculpture for a local bus stop (more like a bus hub).

    The chosen piece not only looked bad, but it was a fountain. Since we’re under water rationing 7 years out of 10, the thing soon turned into a very expensive ashtray and public toilet, and it was eventually dismantled.

  20. Maybe the American Chopper Butcher guys are in there debating tattoo styles with the skanks from L A Ink, while they hold everybody hostage until their shows get renewed.

  21. Send in R Lee Ermey to “negotiate”.

  22. I use them in my Tomcat.

    You’re dead to me.

  23. Pleased to see that I am not the only unemployed HitnRunner.

    Little glories: I survived another August inside the beltway, AND its Pumpkin Beer day!

  24. The best public art is the one that pisses off the most people.

  25. Public, figurative art usually does suck.

  26. Besides The Kraken, we also have Pannikin House, Lou’s, Legoland, … San Diego County is a great place to visit. You probably wouldn’t want to live here.

    1. Not to mention the tool box skyline.

    2. The Kraken isn’t even the best bar. Oceanside has beer joints a block off the the beach with clear windows or outdoor seating so you can take in pelicans and other sites that pass by.

  27. I was struck by how well the local officials were taking what in most cities would result in demands for police involvement and prosecution.

  28. Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks

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