Atwater Park visitors surprised to find the words “cheap Jew” on Jaume Plensa sculpture

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SHOREWOOD -- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and many found the Jaume Plensa sculpture in Shorewood’s Atwater Park to be beautiful -- however, a man visiting from New Jersey, found it offensive.

Jaume Plensa sculpture

Jaume Plensa sculpture

"I literally saw the term 'cheap Jew,' as soon as I walked up to the statue. It was like right in front of me," said Matt Sweetwood, offended by sculpture.

He was so offended he blogged about it and his post has gone viral.

"My blog,, has over 30,000 views," said Sweetwood.

Back at Atwater Park, some aren't so sure.

Jaume Plensa sculpture

Jaume Plensa sculpture

"I am not buying it. I just think if you put letters together you are going to find words," said a park visitor.

The sculpture has been a staple of the park for five years. It's a metal piece of art made up of letters and according to the artist, those letters are utilized to create a skin of an anonymous figure with each letter's placement being entirely at random.

Matt Sweetwood says no way.

"The word 'cheap' and 'Jew,' I mean, to me that coincidence is just too great because that is one of the top three slurs you always hear referred to as Jews," said Sweetwood.

Many have stopped by the park to see for themselves.

Jaume Plensa sculpture

Jaume Plensa sculpture

"I've looked at this a million times," said Michael Mishlove, lives in Shorewood.

And Michael Mishlove says he sees the words "bad Jew" -- but he doesn't know what to make of it.

"I am befuddled. I think it's an extraordinary coincidence at best or something predacious at worst," said Mishlove.

In a statement released by the Village of Shorewood, officials say the artist is "deeply saddened that his sculpture has been so egregiously misinterpreted."

By Saturday morning, the sculpture had been removed.

Atwater Park Jaume Plensa sculpture removed

Atwater Park Jaume Plensa sculpture removed

The Village of Shorewood officials say once the sculpture is restored and repaired, it will be put back in its place.


  • .

    That’s not even a stereotype it’s a fact and they know they’re cheap so i guess putting it in writing just solidifies it and they don’t want that.

  • chris

    What a society of everything offends me crybabies. That cup doesn’t say merry Christmas, god hates the inner-city because snow is white..knock the sand out of your va jay jay you whiny libtard. It’s a statue..what’s next? Statue of Liberty isn’t wearing a bra?

  • Ben

    Believing this a coincidence is just plain dishonest. Any reasonable person would concede that the combinations of words here in order, are clearly purposefully done. Perhaps “Jew” could be spelled out by chance. But not “Cheap Jew” or “Fry Bad Jew.” The chances are just zero.

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