You can’t walk around Madrid for more than 10 minutes without finding a cow on the street. Over a hundred nearly life-sized fiberglass cows are scattered all over the city center. It’s called CowParade, and it’s ¨an international public art exhibit that has been featured in major world cities. Fiberglass sculptures of cows are decorated by local artists, and distributed over the city center…¨
Initially, I ignored CowParade… the large numbers of tourists taking their pictures with the cows was a turn-off. But a conversation in class last week piqued my interest. One of my classmates presented an article about the CowParade as a sociological experiment (sadly, I cannot seem to find the article online, or I would provide a link). Apparently, someone has been keeping track of what happens to the cows as they are on display (the cows are completely out in the open, and are not protected in any way). The cows have not fared well in Madrid… many of the cows have been tagged with graffiti, some have had pieces broken off of them, and one was stolen outright (but later recovered). (On a side note: You’d have to really want one of these cows badly to steal it; each one weighs 400kg.)
The newspaper article said that this has been the case in all cities. Predictably, the cows were quite safe in German cities, for example. The article bemoaned Spain’s poor reputation in Europe, citing the example of a park in Amsterdam (apparently it’s a famous park, but I’d never heard of it and I don’t remember the name) that has signs saying ¨Please respect our public areas¨… but only in Spanish.