Angry Whale Hunter With a Harpoon
New Bedford, Massachusetts
"A Dead Whale or a Stove Boat" -- a line lifted from Moby Dick -- is inscribed into this century-old sculpture. In practical terms it means either you kill the whale or the whale kills you. No wonder this statue of a guy holding a harpoon looks so grim.
Created by artist Bela Pratt to honor the town of New Bedford (then known as "The Whaling City"), the Whaleman Statue shows a bronze man, stripped to the waist, standing in the prow of a bronze whaleboat slicing through a bronze sea. All three appear to have emerged out of a 2-D granite slab inscribed with a couple of seagulls and the Melville quote.
It's a quirky use of materials and perspective, although it was criticized at first because the whaleman holds his harpoon wrong -- reminding us of the 21st century dust-up over the Cardiff Kook surfer statue -- and later because the whaleman is white (most of them were not). In 2008 the mayor installed a metal barricade in front of the statue, which everyone hates.