Art across campus: ‘Statue of Four Lies’
Like the statue from which it is inspired — of John Harvard in Harvard Yard, nicknamed “the statue of three lies” for its inscription — passers-by might think of “Four Lies” as a perfectly predictable historic art piece.
As with its ivy-league counterpart, a closer examination of the work of art’s plaques and engravings reveals several ironies and interesting inaccuracies within the work — there is even a codex in the Special Collections of the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library that works with the piece to help solve its mysteries.
The main subjects of the statue are bronze copies of its creators, Houston’s The Art Guys.
“They thought they would one-up Harvard and do a statue of four lies,” curator of the University Public Art Collection Michael Guidry said. “There aren’t really four lies within the piece, though, that’s a lie in itself. The whole piece is riddled with quote-unquote ‘lies.’”
The date of its sealing (it is also a time capsule) and the date of the University’s 100th anniversary are both intentionally incorrect.
The statues are posed in such a way to invite interaction, and have been dressed up on more than one occasion. There is also a website dedicated to the piece that the artists monitor.
“They really think of it as an on-going active piece of art, not something that was just installed last year and then you walk away from it and move on,” Guidry said. “They really like the idea that it’s going to have a life, and they continue to do things to kind of activate it.”