News, Ethics & Culture

Hateful Sculpture in Milwaukee Needs to be Scrapped

Hateful Sculpture in Milwaukee (Shorewood) Wisconsin Needs to be Scrapped

Published on The Good Men Project 11/8/15

Read My Follow-Up Article: Anti-Semitic Jaume Plensa Spillover II Sculpture in Milwaukee Has Been Removed


I flew to Milwaukee last week to surprise my oldest daughter on her birthday. Since she was unprepared for my visit, and hadn’t requested time off from work, my son-in-law took me on a tour of the area. The very first place he brought me to was the Village of Shorewood, which is just north of Milwaukee. He wanted me to see the picturesque view of Lake Michigan and a famous sculpture there. I am a photographer and he knew I would enjoy that location.

Instagram @MSweetwood Shorewood, WI

Instagram @MSweetwood • Shorewood, WI


Jaume Plensa’s Spillover II • Shorewood, WI

Jaume Plensa’s Spillover II • Shorewood, WI


2015-11-03 12.11.28

After taking a few shots of the lake and surrounding area, we walked up to the sculpture. It is an interesting piece of artwork depicting a crouching man, facing Lake Michigan, made of random steel letters. The artist is Jaume Plensa and he entitled the piece, Spillover II. Within 30 seconds of looking at the sculpture, I noticed the letters on the northern side were not random at all. In fact they clearly spell out the following hateful phrases:

“Cheap Jew”
“Fry Bad Jew”
“Dead Jew”

Anti-Semitic Phrases in Spillover II

Anti-Semitic Phrases in Spillover II

Highlighted for Clarity (credit Ed Dvir)

Highlighted for Clarity (credit Ed Dvir)


I snapped a few photos and walked away disgusted. My son-in-law was visibly upset as he had shown this sculpture proudly to visitors in the past. As a Jew from New Jersey, I prefer this kind of hate said directly to me. But this artist is a coward, so he sculpts his hate and runs away. I also found it ironic that such anti-Semitic remarks would exist on a sculpture a few miles from the childhood home of Golda Meir. She was the Prime Minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974 and was the world’s 4th woman to ever hold such a position.

The artist, Jaume Plensa, is a world-renowned, multiple-award winning sculptor from Barcelona, Spain. His works are displayed in locations throughout the world such as Chicago, Manhattan, England, Spain and Singapore. He has been featured in the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal. In June of 2008, Jaume’s sculpture entitled Breathing, was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, as a memorial to journalists killed in the line of duty.

Jaume Plensa is an experienced artist and therefore it is no accident or coincidence that those hateful phrases are worked into the Shorewood sculpture. I call on the Village of Shorewood, Wisconsin to immediately remove this sculpture, along with it’s offensive and hateful phrases.

Jaume Plensa’s Spillover II is not art. It’s a piece of scrap.



Want to be inspired? Be first to get Matt’s Articles!

Want to be inspired? Be first to get Matt’s Articles!

117 replies »

  1. People see what they want to see, what they believe, and things with which they are familiar. It’s like when you buy a new car and then suddenly you notice that car all over the road. “Jew” is pretty clear but the preceding adjectives take some searching, unless perhaps you regularly affiliate Jew with “cheap” and “bad”. I’m curious what “words” would pop out to me in the rest of the sculpture.

    • The only 5 letter word on the sculpture is “Cheap and it precedes the word “Jew”
      Apparently I was right enough since the artist, the town and community leaders agreed and removed the sculpture immediately.

      • It’s pretty sad this is how you spend your time and cause a community come at odds. You seem pretty talented why don’t you use it for the good of people and not just for people to look at your blog as I have. I hope your daughter has better taste than you. Good news as it looks like the statue is going back up. Thanks for costing me money!!!

      • Putting your personal insults aside, the “good news” is the artist is fixing the sculpture at HIS cost and putting it back. The reason he is doing that is because the slur is there and he doesn’t want it to be seen again.

      • because the would look anti-Semitic if they didn’t despite nothing there, you stirred a pot.

  2. I think that even though the blogger did see these words, the sculptor probably did not put these words in order because for him to put the letters in the words in that order, it would take. A lot of time and money to do this

    • The sculptor has produced many of these sculptures and they are hand assembled. He is aware of every letter that goes there and this was his little joke on everyone. It was completely deliberate but he got caught. That’s why he had the sculpture repaired a few days after I pointed it out. It’s bad for business to have hate messages in your art. BTW, what brought you to my article?

  3. I was there yesterday and the sculpture is there. I’m not totally sure where the words were but it appears there is a spot with a hole in the front.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.