Public artist Leon Reid IV wants to turn Union Square’s classical equestrian statue of George Washington — you know, our first American president, that guy with the wig, on the horse — into just another subway-map-gazing, fanny-pack-wearing, camera-toting tourist. At least it’s a tourist on a horse, the better to not slow us down on our commutes. This is for comic effect (admittedly, Tourist Washington is kinda hilarious) and to get people to start thinking about old George as a part of New York City history. It’s also part of this year’s Art In Odd Places festival, which will run from October 1 through 10 this year. The project is called “Tourist-In-Chief”; fittingly, Washington will get an “I Love NY” hat, a NYC subway map, shopping bags, and other touristy accoutrement.
There’s a Kickstarter page accepting donations to the project that also outlines the fun things you can get by giving some cash. Funds will go to props, equipment rentals, installations, video documentation, and so forth. With a $1,000 donation, you’ll get “an original ‘Tourist-In-Chief’ prop (large hat, large camera, large subway map) with a letter of authenticity, a personal invitation to Leon Reid IV’s studio in Brooklyn, NY, a personal invitation to witness the installation of “Tourist-In-Chief” (between Oct. 1-10th) in NYC and your name mentioned on our list of supporters at www.leonthe4th.com.”
Of course, you don’t have to pay anything — or you could give as little as $1 — and you’ll still probably have an opportunity to see George Washington looking ridiculous.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 11, 2011