Somebody stole a porcupine made of nails from Portland International Jetport

Posted April 12, 2016, at 9:24 a.m.
Last modified April 12, 2016, at 4:41 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Portland police are searching for a sculpture of a porcupine stolen sometime in late March or early April from the grounds of the Portland International Jetport.

The sculpture, made of steel and repurposed nails, is part of the “Glimpse” collection of public art created by Brooklyn, New York, artist Wendy Klemperer. The collection of 10 individual animal sculptures lining the entrance to the jetport was donated to the Portland Public Art collection by William D. and Mary Louise Hamill and was installed in 2011.

Klemperer’s sculptures also are on display at locations including Key Plaza in Bangor, L.L. Bean in Freeport, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay and an osprey in a nest on a piling alongside the new Martin’s Point Bridge between Falmouth and Portland.

Klemperer said Tuesday that the porcupine was a suggestion of her art dealer, June LaCombe of Maine, during a one-person exhibit LaCombe organized at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in 2009.

The show, “Reimagine,” included sculptures of animals “that don’t really exist in nature anymore” as well as some, like deer and porcupine, that do.

“I was actually not that interested in it,” she said of a porcupine. “So much of my work is about movement and the anatomy of animals and physical expression. I couldn’t really see how to do that with a porcupine.”

But Klemperer studied photos of African crested porcupines, with 18-inch quills, and eventually created the porcupine that sat at the jetport until recently.

Klemperer said the remaining sculptures have concrete footings attached to rebar in the ground, but the porcupine’s feet were welded onto metal stakes that were driven into the ground, making it easier to abscond with.

The theft has been reported, but the sculpture has not been recovered, city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said Tuesday in a press release.

Anyone with information about the theft can call Caitlin Camerin at 874-8901 or email ccameron@portlandmaine.gov, or call Portland police at 874-8300.

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