The artist Banksy is not slacking during his month-long “residency” in New York. Last week the elusive artist managed to infuriate residents (and the mayor!) with not one but two mural tributes to the World Trade Center on 9/11: one in Tribeca and one found in Brooklyn Heights. His upsetting stuff animal truck was found equally disturbing. However the controversy seems to only ramp up interest in the artist, whose work was sold in Central Park over the weekend to four lucky tourists who were able to grab five-figure Banksy canvas’s for $60 each. And you have to admit, his Waterfall Truck was as delightful as his Animal Truck was horrifying. In a merger of consumerism and pop art that would make Andy Warhol proud, Banksy unveiled his latest creation today: A fiberglass Ronald McDonald statue having his shoes shined by a real boy. The mixed media presentation will be making rounds in all the boroughs’ McDonald’s during lunchtime, with its first stop in the South Bronx.
When asked for comment, the boy replied “No English.” This is not the first time Banksy has taken McDonald’s to task, notably showcasing a sad Ronald perched like a gargoyle on the streets and doing an installation of cannibalistic nuggets in Bristol in 2009.
Gothamist called a 1-800 number connected to the piece and gave a rough audio transcription: The sculpture will visit the sidewalk outside a different McDonalds every lunchtime for the next week.
“What you see before you is a sculpture entitled ‘Shoeshine’ dating from the summer of 2013, depicting the powerful figure of Ronald McDonald waving impassively as his ridiculously oversized clown shoes are buffed to a fine shine. Ronald was adopted as the official mascot of the McDonald’s fast food corporation chain in 1966. Fiberglass versions of his likeness have been installed outside restaurants ever since. Thus, making Ronald arguably the most sculpted figure in history after Christ. (‘Ooohh!’) For this piece, the artist has reproduced Ronald McDonald in perfect detail, singlehandedly. (‘Aaaah!’) If, by perfect detail, you mean ‘roughly’, and by singlehandedly, you mean with two people helping. (‘Awww!’) The result is a critique of the heavy labour required to sustain the polished image of a mega-corporation. Is Ronald’s statuesque pose indicative of how corporations have become the historical figures of our era? Does this hero have feet of clay and a massively large footprint to boot? But, take a closer look and you may notice something familiar about this clown. His face is that of the Greek god Hermes, carved by Praxiteles in 340 BC. Is this a wry, oblique reference to Greek mythology? Or did the artist have such difficulty trying to sculpt the face he simply pronged on the nearest replica bust he could find? We would never know. (Whispered) It’s the second one!”