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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Life + Arts

New statues grace Cougar Village

What is a lie? There are many definitions of what the perfect lie is, but in truth a lie is what we make it out to be and artists Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing, otherwise known as the Art Guys, have done just that. They have

Students take their first look at "The Statue of Four Lies" by the Art Guys, former UH students. | Michelle Reed/The Daily Cougar

made a lie mean something more than deception, and have turned the mystery of a lie into an interaction with their newest piece of artwork, “The Statue of Four Lies.”

Last Wednesday, the Art Guys unveiled their newest addition to the University’s Public Art Collection outside Cougar Village. The project features two bronzed gentlemen gesturing towards the University community in a playful and mysterious manner. Behind them stands a wall with the words “Mundus Vult Decipi Ergo Decipiatlur,” which, according to Massing, essentially means the world likes to be deceived. The project took nearly a year to create and was kept hidden from student eyes since last October.

“It’s a monumental piece of art and it’s a part of campus that gets a lot of foot traffic and brings a lot of attention to it,” curator of University Art Collections Michael Guidry said.

The statues were funded by the Cougar Village construction budget. Since 1966, the University has given 1 percent of the budget for new buildings to the art program, and Guidry said that for the building of the new Cougar Village, the Art Guys, who are UH Alumni, seemed like the perfect fit to add a new piece of artwork to the 260-plus public art collection currently on campus.

“If we were invited to do the statue let’s say at the University of Arizona I don’t think we would do the same thing at all,” Massing said.

Public Art can be a wide array of artwork. But Massing said that working with a figurative statuary piece would offer more student interaction than would a painting or drawing.

“We were questioning all these different ideas, and we came up with the notion that a figurative statue was something that people could interact with,” Massing said. “In contrast to a sculpture that is abstract and minimal, people don’t necessarily go stand next to it or interact with it. This is open for interaction by anyone who looks at it.”

Everyone’s interaction with the statues is going to be different, and Massing said that he hopes that the statue stays open to interpretation. Even if it does not he hopes that students will interact with the statues physically by taking pictures or even dancing with them.

The concept of the statues stemmed from the mystery of the statue of John Harvard at Harvard University.

“It is known collectively as the Statue of Three Lies because there are three pieces of information on a plaque associated with the sculpture that are inaccurate—well they are not necessarily lies, they are mistakes,” Massing said with a smile.

The plaque next to the Statue of Four Lies has been left open for interpretation and Massing said that while some of the facts might be true, others might not be.

However, the statue is far from misleading, as it offers a great mystery for us to solve, asking the question: What are the four lies?

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