Brooklyn Sculptor and Acrobatic Elephant Going Head-to-Head for Union Square Public Art Spot

08/24/2011 2:42 PM |

Rendering of Leon Reid IVs Tourist-in-Chief (left) and Miquel Barcelos Elephanta (right).
  • Rendering of Leon Reid IV’s “Tourist-in-Chief” (left) and Miquel Barcelo’s “Elephanta” (right).

Remember how Brooklyn-based street artist and rogue public sculpture installer Leon Reid IV was planning to transform Union Square’s equestrian George Washington statue into “Tourist-in-Chief” for Art in Odd Places‘ upcoming October 1-10 festival along 14th Street until the Parks Department shot down his proposal? Well in an email this week Reid tells us he’s presenting his project to Community Board 5 next week.

On the evening of Monday August 29th he’ll be outlining his project to CB6 in Midtown. He won’t be the only artist pitching a Union Square installation. “Coincidentally,” Reid writes, “the Parks Department will also be presenting a work of art for Union Square—which between us two—should offer you drastic viewpoints on public art.”

Animal notes that “Reid is not on the preliminary meeting agenda,”but during the same hearing the community board will look at another public statue destined to stand in Union Square starting next month for six to nine months: Miquel Barcelo’s “Elephanta,” a large sculpture of an elephant balancing on its trunk made of bronze—practically a precious metal these days.

That innocuous (though enormous, life-sized) elephant is expected to get approved to go on view for the better part of a year, while Reid’s humorous hanging of shopping bags and touristy attire on a pre-existing sculpture of the nation’s first president for ten days faces greater uncertainty. Tourists, surely, would like both equally.