Marxhausen would have passed by this sculpture every day on the way to work. Since every student of Concordia is familiar with this prominent sculpture, it's easy to make jokes about it.
The 'Son of Man Be Free' sculpture has been adorned with many costumes over the years, most of which were easily removed. However, a few students had to pay to have the sculpture restored a few years ago when their coating of clay and leaves damaged the finish. (From an article in The Sower, http://www.cune.edu/about/4/)
I've also observed a "For Sale" sign placed in front of it, fake police tape surrounding it, a Jack o' Lantern placed on it's head around Haloween, and a snow ball placed in it's hand after the first snow of the year. It is colloquially known as the "Naked Man Statue."
As a freshman, I wrote a haiku about the sculpture for a writing class. Haikus have three lines, the first with five syllables, the second with seven, the third with five again:
All ridicule it.
But was not Christ stripped naked?
For us ridiculed?
My idea was that it's very fitting that the sculpture is constantly ridiculed since it depicts Christ, who was ridiculed on our account.
I'll bet this statue appealed to Marxhausen because light can dramatically change it. Here is something he said about the statue outside of New Cassel Retirement Center in Omaha, NE:
This statue is not the same all the time. Here this hand is light and this hand is dark, and it changes. Sometimes both hands are dark, sometimes both hands are light…It changes. It doesn’t always look the same.
This observation can easily be applied to the "Son of Man be Free." All of these are photos taken around 11:00 a.m. In future, you can compare these to other sets of photographs taken at different times of day to see the dramatic effect of sun light for yourself.