It feels like just yesterday that the city was enjoying its daily Easter egg hunt for the latest Banksy, but 2014 was a miniature pony made of cupcakes compared to the rotting, partially combusted whale carcass of 2016. So it makes sense that instead of a whimsical stencil etched onto an abandoned New Lots sheet metal factory, we get a six-foot-tall replica of Donald Trump leering down at us from over the Holland Tunnel.
“It hurts us just as much as it hurts you,” said a spokesman with INDECLINE, the artist collective responsible for the destruction of hundreds of commutes since the statue was erected on the Tunnel’s Jersey City side early Wednesday morning. “And we have to spend more time with it than most other people. So yeah, sorry.”
Nude Trumples (officially called “The Emperor Has No Balls”) first appeared in Union Square last month, though he was swiftly removed by the Parks Department, who memorably said in a statement that the agency “stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.” But the statue’s brief presence lingered, and INDECLINE was contacted shortly thereafter by Mana Contemporary, a Miami-based arts center interested in permanently installing two more Trumps on its properties in Jersey City and Wynwood, Florida. Both statues were debuted early Wednesday.
It’s presumably safe to say that Wynwood is enjoying its Cheeto-hued eunuch just as much as Jersey City, which is to say not at all. Tough luck, though, because his placement on a Mana-owned warehouse adjacent to the tunnel means he’s there until INDECLINE takes him down after the election in November, or until he’s shattered by a well-placed bolt of lightning, whichever comes first. Then: “We’ll auction him off and issue an apology,” the spokesperson said.
The Trump statue army — which premiered in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Seattle the same day it arrived in New York — was created for INDECLINE by an artist named Ginger, a guy with a long history of designing ghouls for haunted houses and horror films. “When the guys approached me, it was all because of my monster-making abilities,” he told the Washington Post last month, adding that “Trump is just yet another monster, so it was absolutely in my wheelhouse to be able to create these monstrosities.”
Though the INDECLINE spokesperson was unable to answer my very pointed questions about how Ginger decided to style Trump’s pubic hair, he did say that the artist was thorough in his research.
“He showed me his Google search history halfway through the process, and it was like ‘old man ass’ and stuff like that,” he said. “He got pretty detailed with it.”
For the most part, Trump looks appropriately ghastly, though I’d quibble that the mouth doesn’t quite resemble the distinctive puckered anus of the original, and the hands could never be small enough. As for the rest, well, Ginger just made his best guess.
“We don’t want to know what he looks like naked, so it’s a shot in the dark,” the spokesperson said.
The proliferation of presidential facsimiles may yet get worse before it gets better: INDECLINE says it’s also currently working on a Hillary Clinton piece, though she likely won’t be naked. Lucky us.