Tourists May Soon Be Able to Gawk at a Piece of Public Art Mocking Them

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Photo: Leon Reid IV

Leon Reid IV, Brooklyn artist, specializes in cheeky public art installations. His previous work includes decorating a British statue of Abraham Lincoln in a Yankees cap and copious bling (including one necklace that said union and another shaped like the African continent), and calling it True Yank. Now Reid wants to accessorize another vaunted American president: He's been raising funds on Kickstarter for a project called Tourist-in-Chief, in which he would deck out the George Washington statue in Union Square with a map, a camera, and various other touristy accouterments for thirteen hours in October.

The Parks Department — unsurprisingly for a government agency interested in bringing tourist revenues to the city — wasn't a fan of the idea and denied his request. Reid brought it up before the area's community board, which — unsurprisingly for a group of residents who probably don't like fighting through crowds of out-of-towners — ruled in favor of Reid. They're requesting that the department explain why they're trying to block the project, since the statue has been decorated before, multiple times (albeit less aggressively on the other occasions). So stay tuned: You might get a chance after all to take a picture of tourists taking pictures of a statue mocking their picture-taking.

TOURIST-IN-CHIEF AND COMMUNITY BOARD VS THE PARKS DEPARTMENT: IT'S ON [Animal New York]