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‘A Conversation With Oscar Wilde’

The first public monument to Oscar Wilde outside Ireland is, indeed, a conversation starter. A bust of the writer’s head, made up of a mass of squiggly lines, emerges from a coffin-shaped base. His right hand grasps at the nothing, his fingers pinched together like a bronze tribute to the “one does not simply” meme.

Maggi Hambling created the intriguing work of art, which was installed in 1998. The artist was chosen from a pool of applicants to construct a memorial to the late writer. But her work wasn’t met with total fanfare. Though many appreciated the abstract depiction of the author, others were horrified by the memorial’s whimsical appearance.

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