Back when sculptor Zurab Tsereteli first built the thing, in 1991-1992, the guy balancing atop an oddly proportioned stack of bronze ships (caravelles?) was supposed to be Christopher Columbus. But, strangely, neither Spain, nor the U.S., nor any Latin American countries wanted the thing, not even to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus blundering onto the shores of the New World.
Who took it? Moscow, which was run by Tsereteli’s bff, Yuri Luzhkov.
Luzhkov took the statue, rechristened it Peter the Great (never mind that that man had been based in St. Pete), and put it on the point of land where the Obvodnoy Kanal meets the Moscow River, whence this monstrosity — at well over 300 feet, one of the tallest in the world, mind you — has dominated the Moscow skyline, and embarrassed the city’s residents.
Today, we discover that Luzhkov’s replacement and former deputy, Vladimir Resin, has announced he is thinking about moving Peter to another location. Unclear where, but few have spoken up and even fewer mind that every visiting tourist will now no longer have to get an explanation from his Moscow host about Tsereteli’s art (like his 9/11 statue in Bayonne, NJ that a friend once described as ‘a crying vulva’), and its cozy ties to Luzhkov as well as the metals industry.
Tsereteli, meanwhile, believes history will prove him right. “History will put everything in its place,” he said. “Remember how many prominent people — artists, writers — embarrassed themselves by criticizing the Eiffel Tower.”