Artist Leon Reid IV raised over $3,000 for his work, and secured approval from the New York Park Department. See: blog announcement here, extensive DNAinfo coverage here, HuffPo rundown here, Village Voice writeup here, Gothamist coverage here, etc. This thing was for real. They called it the "Tourist-in-Chief" and it apparently happened over the weekend. The imposing and austere bronze statue of America's first President, the American "Father of Our Country," the oldest statue of Washington in the possession of the City of New York, holding a shopping bag and "fumbling" with a subway map. Sigh.
This is one of those "did this really have to get done" situations for us. It's not offensive or even particularly interestingand we're geeks for anything pop culture-y that has to do with tourismas much as it just leaves us kind of meh. As the artist himself anticipated, "responses will be mixed, with some positive and some negative."
We're also not crazy about the process the led to the approval, which apparently involved some lawyering. And we're also a little skeptical about the project's stated goals, which included "making George Washington more relatable to the public" and "educating the public about Washington's role in NYC history. No, the guy just wanted to dress George Washington up like a tourist.
What do you think? Ironic and biting yet poignant ode to the surreal landscape of contemporary tourism, or just something that's kind of stupid?
[Photo: Leon Reid IV / Kickstarter]