Controversial Czech artist, David Černý, gained international fame when he was arrested for painting a Soviet tank pink, an act of civil disobedience that carried particular significance, as the tank was located in the heart of central Prague and was a national cultural monument dedicated to Soviet tank crews. Today, Černý is a cultural icon, and his work can be found in prominent public spaces throughout Prague (and indeed, the world).
Černý, who recently told Anthony Bourdain during a televised segment of “No Reservations” that his favorite aspects of life in Prague are the “beer and girls”, is incredibly prolific and immensely skilled. No visit to the city is complete without at least a passing investigation of his work. The following sculptures are easily accessible on foot or via public transport.
1). Two Pissing Men. Located in front of the excellent Franz Kafka Museum in Mala Strana is an intricately orchestrated statue ballet featuring two opposing male figures oscillating at the waist and genitalia, urinating into a pond. One of the most interesting features of the sculpture (lost on the many American tourists posing for lurid photos at hip-level with the figures) is the fact that the border of the small pond is actually the outline of the Czech Republic.
2). Saint Wenceslas. Hanging from an atrium in the Lucerna shopping center and cinema just off Wenceslas Square is the figure of a larger-than-life horse in medieval battle gear suspended upside down from the ceiling. Astride this strange creature is none other than Wenceslas himself, sitting erect, helmeted, holding his banner.
3). The Hanging Man. Suspended above a small corner in the center of Prague is the statue of a morose man hanging casually from one hand from a post at roof-level. Many visitors to the city walk right past him (or rather, underneath him) without even noticing he’s there. Those who do notice don’t soon forget it.
4). Crawling Babies. The sight of car-sized, faceless infants crawling improbably up and down the Žižkov Television Tower is enough to stop even the most artsy traveler dead in their tracks. What might otherwise be a skyline-marring monstrosity is a tribute to the macabre national character. Only in Prague. Note: One can view a few examples of the babies at ground-level in Kampa Park along the Vlatava River.