Artist to unveil controversial Barbaro statue

January 24, 2008 6:08:30 PM PST
An art gallery wants to unveil a memorial depicting fallen Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro near Central Park this spring, close to where a carriage horse died after it was spooked by a street musician's drum and ran into a tree.

The sculpture by controversial artist Daniel Edwards depicts the popular colt on his back, a No. 8 saddle cloth draped over his belly and his hooves in the air, according to a statement from the Leo Kesting Gallery. The gallery plans to unveil the statue April 30 to raise awareness for legislation urging mandatory disclosure of race-related horse injuries and fatalities.

A spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation said it has not received an application for a special event permit or a temporary public art permit allowing the unveiling.

Barbaro raced to a stirring victory in the 2006 Derby, then broke his leg early in the Preakness. His ensuing battle for survival captured the nation's attention, but he was euthanized after developing the hoof disease laminitis.

The gallery announcement came within a week of the one-year anniversary of Barbaro's death.

"This has nothing to do with us, nothing whatsoever," Barbaro's co-owner, Gretchen Jackson, said of the memorial. "This is not the kind of thing you'd really want to see.

"It's just startling that someone wants to remember Barbaro like that. But it doesn't bother me. I have a great picture of Barbaro in my mind. I know how everyone will really remember him."

Other sculptures by Edwards include a nude Britney Spears giving birth on a bearskin rug, an interactive autopsy of Paris Hilton and a depiction of Prince Harry killed in war.


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