Chief Wahoo Decorates Building in Germany, But Why?



Chief Wahoo in Germany.
  • Chief Wahoo in Germany.

Why exactly is there a neon Chief Wahoo sitting atop a building in Berlin?

Art, of course. All with a deeper (though similar) meaning than the Cleveland Indians.

The Wall Street Journal reports it's the work of Cyprien Gaillard, an artist who took a 12-meter neon Cleveland Indians Chief Wahoo sign and placed it on top of a "derelict East German office building, ominously called the "House of Statistics."

And what is the viewer supposed to take away from the combination of Wahoo and Germany?

Supposedly this: "The project, which combines a symbol of the American Rust Belt with a souvenir of Communist town planning, is meant to reflect on the broader subject of urban decline. And it would only be possible in Berlin, says the artist. 'You would never find an abandoned building in the middle of Paris.''"

Um, OK. It's not just Cleveland and an empty Berlin office building that symbolize urban decline; he had to throw in the Indians for good measure. Ya know, he could have just used a picture of Austin Kearns or Valbuena up there and left poor Chief Wahoo alone. But Cleveland + empty building + Communist German building = pretty depressing image.

Did anyone tell him they're winning? Did anyone inform the Chief Wahoo protesters to get their airfare set for Germany? So many questions.

(Big hat tip to Scott Suttell at Crain's.)

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.