Tale’s end? Controversial UW-Madison sculpture to be removed this summer

Sculpture to be stored until new site found
Tale’s end? Controversial UW-Madison sculpture to be removed this summer
File photo

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will be removing the controversial sculpted obelisk of footballs that’s been outside Camp Randall for more than 13 years.

The “Nails’ Tales” sculpture that’s on the corner of North Breese Terrace and Regent Street — just outside the UW Field House and Camp Randall Stadium — will be removed this summer and placed in storage before the beginning of the Badgers football season on Sept. 7, John Lucas, a spokesman for UW-Madison, said Friday.

The sculpture’s removal is part of the UW Field House redesign project, which includes a new major campus gateway at the corner where Nails’ Tales is located, the university said. Construction on the redesign is scheduled to begin in February next year, to be completed ahead of the 2020 football season.

The project design includes an entry sign and landscape improvements, features that would be blocked by the 50-foot-tall sculpture, which has stood there since November 2005.

“UW-Madison is committed to working with the artist, Donald Lipski and campus stakeholders to find a new site for the artwork in the next year,” Lucas said.

A date for removal hasn’t been set, university officials said. The sculpture will be stored “in a secure location” until a new setting is found.

On his website, Lipski describes the sculpture as “a giant limestone block which is eroding into a pile of footballs.” Others have described it as a “monstrosity,” referencing its size and phallic shape.

The UW-Madison Campus Art Advisory Committee and the Wisconsin Arts Board have been informed and will be involved in the removal, storage and relocation discussions, the university said.

“Both groups are in general agreement that the artwork could be relocated with involvement of Lipski,” Lucas said.

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