A ticket to Stalin’s monument

An admission ticket to an art installation inside Stalin's monument, 1990

An admission ticket to an art installation called “Totalitarian Zone,” which was held inside the pedestal of what was once Stalin’s monument in Prague. Dated 18–31 October 1990. I’m pretty sure that’s the space shuttle.

There’s a lovely poster for the same event on the Facebook page of Linhart’s Foundation, which was one of the event’s producers. My thanks to the translator Alex Zucker for pointing the poster out to me.

If this image were included in an extra-illustrated binding of the novel Necessary Errors, it might follow page 177. (For an explanation of extra-illustration, click here.)

Surprise on board?


“How will it affect you?” this ad for Celebrity Cruises asks. It ran in the New York Times this past Sunday, and I tore it out because I thought the statue looked somewhat familiar. The delicate nose nestled against the right shoulder, the dimple over the left hip, the outward curl of the lower spine . . .

There are more than six known copies of the Sleeping Hermaphrodite in the world’s museums, according to the catalog of the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme in Rome, which has one. (So does the Galleria Borghese, also in Rome, but the picture above is from the website of the Louvre, whose version has a sort of quilted mattress; the towel in the original, you will observe, is somewhat differently placed, and is not in fact terry-cloth.) Looking from the statue’s left, you see what appears to be the figure of a woman, but when you walk around to the other side, the story abruptly changes.