Last we saw Brooklyn-based street artist and surreptitious public sculpture installer Leon Reid IV, he was pitching a giant squirrel statue with a nut pun title, but in the meantime another of his playful public sculpture proposals is gaining steam: the makeover of Union Square’s equestrian George Washington statue (pictured) into the shopping bag-toting “Tourist-In-Chief.” A Kickstarter campaign is well on its way with 24 days left, and now Art In Odd Places has added the project to its October public art festival.
Assuming the campaign reaches its modest goal, Reid’s satiric transformation of Henry Kirke Brown’s 1865 sculpture into a monument to chain-hopping consumerism will last from October 1-10 as part of Art in Odd Places’ public art festival along 14th Street.
In a similar piece from 2009 titled “True Yank,” Reid adorned a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Manchester with a giant gold chain featuring the pendant “Union,” a do-rag, Yankees hat and gold rings.
Reid tells Art in Odd Places:
Using the theme of ritual with 14th street as a backdrop, I conceived of a project called “Tourist-In-Chief” to be installed (hopefully) on the statue of George Washington in Union Square. This intervention transforms Washington from stoic statesman into your everyday tourist by addition of simple props such as” I Love NY” hat, subway map, Whole Foods and DSW shopping bags. “Tourist-In-Chief” will animate this icon of American history and propel him into today’s ritual of consumption.
For more on the project, here’s his pitch.