David Lynch's Banned Bovine

By Buck Wolf

Sept. 13, 2000 — The streets of New York City must know every depravity on earth, but they won’t ever see David Lynch’s decapitated cow.

You’d think New Yorkers could handle a gruesome statue from one of the country’s darkest directors. After all, folks here still joke about the classic New York Post headline, “Headless Man Found in Topless Bar.”

What danger could Lynch’s topless cow be in this environment? “They told me that I could do anything I liked so long as it wasn’t sexually explicit or X-rated,” Lynch told The Wolf Files. “So I built my cow. I had a great time doing it.”

The fiberglass heifer is quite a sight. Its severed head rests on bloody, gorged-out shoulders. Forks and knives have been stabbed into the rump. And scrawled across the side are the words: “Eat My Fear.”

Lynch’s statue was supposed to take its place on the streets of New York City this summer as part of the “CowParade” — a traveling event that encourages local artists to decorate model cows for public viewing. Similar event have taken place around the country.

But when city officials saw the “Eat My Fear” cud-chewer, they turned into udder cow-ards and banned it from the show. Now, after months in exile at a warehouse in Connecticut, it’s gone on display at the downtown Manhattan Alleged Gallery — ironically close to the meatpacking district, where many a bovine has met a bloody fate.

“It took some time. But I’m happy folks got a chance to see what they missed,” says Lynch, who naturally would have preferred an outdoor, public viewing.

Moo-ving Art? This summer, New York City streets were graced with some 500 cows, including those rendered as modern art (the Picowsso on Sixth Avenue), a sexy waitress (the “Mooter” at Hooters restaurant) and historical figures (Lady Cowdiva, Vincent Van Cough, and King Tutancowmon).