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Thursday, July 10, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 55.0° F  Fair
The Paper

20 YEARS AGO

Beelzebub in Orton Park
From the Isthmus archives, Aug. 22, 1986

Local gay politicians pose with the sculpture in 1989.
Local gay politicians pose with the sculpture in 1989.
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"In June, when the city Parks Commission voted to install George Segal's ‘Gay Liberation' sculpture in Orton Park, there were protests that its mere presence would turn the area into a viper's nest of perverts, rapists and homosexuals, clearing the way, in the words of one opponent, for more statues of ‘rapists, child molesters and other sexual preferences,'" staff writer Phil Davis reports in this week's City Notes column. "So with Mace can in hand, I recently stopped at Orton Park (where the statue was installed last month), only to discover that marble likenesses of Richard Speck and John Gacy have not spontaneously erupted through the grass like pitchforks from hell. The most violent reactions came from children who ran up to the four somber, white bronze figures, threw their arms around them and screamed, ‘Mommy! Daddy!'" On extended loan to the Madison Art Center, the sculpture was relocated to its intended site in New York City's Sheridan Park in 1992. Segal died in June 2000.

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