City Shoots Down Brooklyn Artist’s Plan for Union Square Statue’s Makeover

07/28/2011 12:20 PM |

Tourist in Chief (2011) © Leon Reid IV

  • “Tourist in Chief” (2011) © Leon Reid IV

Remember how Brooklyn-based street artist and sculptor Leon Reid IV had planned to hang shopping bags on the George Washington statue on the south side of Union Square as part of Art In Odd Places‘ festival this October? Well, the New York City Parks Department doesn’t think it’s such a hot idea, and has denied Reid’s proposal for the statue dress-up.

While the Kickstarter campaign to fund the project reached its goal in no time flat, DNAinfo reports that the Parks Department denied Reid’s request for permission to hang shopping bags, a camera and an “I Heart NY” shirt on the 1865 Henry Kirke Brown statue.

The reason for the Parks Department’s disapproval of Reid’s “Tourist-In-Chief” project, according to DNAinfo, is that “the city agency frowns on dressing up public statues.” Which is funny, because we distinctly remember a bunch of public statues in Brooklyn being adorned with superhero capes this past winter as promotion for NBC series The Cape, and the Parks Department didn’t frown once—in fact, it probably smiled as it cashed checks from NBC. The fact that that embarrassing campaign got the go-ahead and Reid’s short-lived satire is being denied the necessary permits to move forward only provides further proof that the criticisms of city policy articulated in his proposal are accurate.


One Comment

  • to bad he asked for permission I went in the middle of the night and hung a scrub brush from his hand like he was leading a charge I did by using 2 paint poles taped together to hook the toilet brush onto his hand so it looked like a sword. It was when a Public arts venue put up a show in front of the statue for Womens History Month, a display of sculptures of women shopping and cleaning which were created by a woman and had something to do with fractals Next time, just do it and take the risk.