Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brooklyn Artist's Touristy Makeover of Union Square GW Statue Approved (and Denied!)

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Rendering of Leon Reid IVs Tourist in Chief.
  • Rendering of Leon Reid IV's "Tourist in Chief."

Despite being denied a permit by the Parks Department, Brooklyn-based sculptor and street artist Leon Reid IV took his proposal for the equestrian George Washington statue in Union Square before Manhattan's Community Board 5 on Monday, where it was given unanimous approval.

The temporary installation, which would last the duration of Art in Odd Places' 2011 festival all along 14th Street titled RITUAL (October 1-10), involves adorning Henry Kirke Brown's 1865 sculpture with a set of custom-made props like shopping bags, a baseball hat and tourist map. The Parks Department seems to favor a different sculpture for Union Square.

In an email, Reid wrote to us:

I presented my project before Community Board 5. The Parks Department called 1 hour before the meeting to tell the board that The Parks will "deny" my permit. As a result, the Board voted unanimously in favor of my project. The Board is now requesting the Department to deliver an explanation as to why the project is to be denied.

Reid's presentation to CB5 can be seen in two parts (here and here), and includes other instances of the Parks Department approving temporary modifications of city sculptures—including, most embarrassingly, as part of a marketing campaign for a TV show about superheroes. Meanwhile Reid is already working on the tourist props for the temporary installation—pending Parks Department approval of course.

Leon Reid and an assistant working on sculptural elements for Tourist in Chief.
  • Leon Reid and an assistant working on sculptural elements for "Tourist in Chief."

(Photos © Leon Reid IV)

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