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9 Funny Monuments That Are Larger Than Life

Get up close to some of the most massive art from around the world.

Towering Thumb. Paris, France

Celebrated as France’s answer to Andy Warhol, César Baldaccini created a
lifetime of incredible sculptures including the French cinema’s
equivalent of the Oscar statuette, the César. His art can be admired at
various museums in France and around the world, but one of his most
popular works stands out on a street in downtown Paris. Le Pouce (‘The
Thumb’) is an over-sized sculpture on display in the La Défense quarter
of the City of Light. Tipping the scales at 18 tons, Baldaccini
modeled this 40-foot high digit after his own thumb.

Big Cherry and Spoon, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Come to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
and you’ll find a king-sized spoon—garnished with a huge cherry—lying
leisurely across a quaint reflecting pool. Claes Oldenburg and Coosje
Van Bruggen designed “Spoonbridge and Cherry” to serve as a fountain
sculpture; the cherry’s stem emits a cascade of water causing the
bright red fruit to shimmer in the summer sun. In winter, when the
fountain is quiet,  fallen snow
turns the sculpture into a delightful ice cream sundae.

Oversized Silver Dog, Denver, Colorado

Sitting attentively outside Denver’s Animal Shelter, a 20-feet high dog
glistens in the Colorado sunshine. Created by Laura Haddad and Tom
Drugan for the city of Denver, Sun Spot
consists of a steel skeleton adorned with over 90,000 shiny dog tags
that shimmer and dance in the breeze. This friendly pup welcomes
visitors to the animal shelter as well as curious tourists passing by on
Interstate-25. In the evenings, Sun Spot is set aglow with LED lights,
giving man’s best friend a colorful, heartwarming presence.

Large Flying Bowling Pins, Eindhoven, Netherlands

The city of Eindhoven found a playful way to turn the commute to its
downtown core into a more enchanting journey. Along the park-like median
at the crossroads of Kennedylaan and Fellenoord Avenues, drivers and
pedestrians discover the unexpected delight of a giant game of bowling
in full swing. Bright yellow bowling pins take flight in the midst of a
successful strike. By converting an otherwise stale, grassy boulevard
into a fanciful sculpture exhibit, artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje
Van Brugeen’s ‘Flying Pins’ scores full points.

Giant Pineapple, Bathurst, South Africa

On the outskirts of Bathurst, South Africa, a 55-foot high pineapple
dominates the skyline. This land is pineapple country, and inside the
massive three-floor structure fruit fans can learn about the industry,
purchase locally produced pineapple paraphernalia (jams, chutneys,
pottery and clothing), and climb to the top for a 360-degree view that
stretches to the Indian Ocean.

Monster Saw, Tokyo, Japan

It’s no surprise that the spectacular buildings that comprise the Tokyo
International Exhibition Center—or Tokyo Big Sight—are accessorized
by several pieces of distinctive public art. Topping the list of
eye-catching sculptures is the massive 50-foot high, red-handled handsaw
sticking out of the ground in front of the main entrance hall. Created
by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, the saw attracts art lovers,
curious onlookers, and tourists with a sense of humor.

Gigantic Dreaming Girl, St. Helen's, England

Halfway between Liverpool and Manchester, the 65-foot high face of a sleeping girl
towers above the busy M62 highway. With her eyes closed and serene
expression, ‘Dream’ appears to be lost in a deep reverie. Built on the
former site of the Sutton Manor Colliery, Jaume Plensa’s artwork
symbolizes the future and all that is possible.

Giant Marilyn, Palm Springs, California

If you prefer your movie stars larger than life, take a trip to Palm Springs to gaze upon this 26-foot high statue of Hollywood legend, Marilyn Monroe.
The 15.4 ton sculpture designed by Seward Johnson depicts the famous
wind-swept dress scene from Marilyn’s 1955 film, ‘The Seven Year Itch.’
After mesmerizing admirers along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in 2011, the
Windy City said goodbye to Norma Jean as she headed westward to Palm
Springs. She’ll tease visitors in the California sunshine until June
2013.

Enormous Lobster, Kingston, Australia

Like Canada and the United States, Australia holds a certain fondness
for big things. One of their most photographed roadside attractions is Larry the Lobster..
This 56-foot tall crustacean designed in 1979 by Paul Kelly greets
visitors to a local restaurant and tourism information booth. Over the
years, Larry has accumulated some impressive fans: travel author Bill
Bryson mentioned the big lobster in his book ‘Down Under’ and in 2007
Australia Post featured Larry on a stamp in their Australian big things
series, which also featured the country’s over-sized banana,
pineapple, guitar, and merino sheep.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest