September 14, 2016 at 4:00 PM
The road leading to the Holland Tunnel is already an automotive eyesore, even by Jersey City standards.
But there's one thing certain to make the execrable stretch of rundown warehouses and gas stations even more unsightly: Donald Trump's naked flesh.
That's exactly what thousands upon thousands of helpless motorists were treated to after members of the anarchist collective INDECLINE unveiled their latest, life-size statue of Trump on a warehouse roof several hundred yards from the tunnel entrance early Wednesday morning.
Last month, Trump statues were covertly deployed in public spaces in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle. The statues upset some authorities, amused others, spawned endless selfies and burned holes into the eye sockets of thousands more.
This time around, an INDECLINE spokesman said, the statue appeared to generate another strong reaction among motorists as they crept toward the toll road outside Manhattan. (More than 41,000 motorists passed through the tunnel on average each day this year through June, according to figures from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.)
"You would see that early-morning despondency among drivers," said the spokesman, who discussed the project with The Washington Post anonymously, following the anarchist collective's custom. "Then they'd look at it — and then look at it again — and a big smile would break out across their face."
"I saw a mom pointing it out to her kid," the spokesman added. "We got a lot of thumbs-up and honking."
The property is owned by Mana Contemporary, a New Jersey-based art center that commissioned two additional statues for installation in Miami and Jersey City after the initial statues went viral. A rooftop billboard behind the Jersey City installation was also painted by INDECLINE and shows an upside-down American flag and a pile of fallen stars.
"Unlike the first 5, these two are set to run until the election in November at which time they will be returned to INDECLINE and put up for auction," an INDECLINE statement notes. "The statue placed there is highly visible to commuters from the nearby highway," the statement adds.
"As an arts institution and privately-owned business, we feel responsible for bringing attention to Mr. Trump's dangerous rhetoric," Eugene Lemay, President of the Mana Group, said in a statement emailed to The Washington Post. "We are doing what we can to communicate our values."
More than 1,200 miles away, the Miami statue was placed atop a billboard located in a vacant property and faces traffic on Interstate 95, according to NBC affiliate WTVJ.
Tony Albelo, who runs an event management team that oversees the former RC Cola factory property where the statue was erected, told the Miami New Times that he was shocked the see the statue appear overnight. "I was driving in this morning, to my office right here by RC Cola, and I'm like, Holy cow, that wasn't there yesterday," he said. "Somebody must have put it up at night."
"We're not going to take it down," Albelo added. "We're going to leave it there, not as a political statement, but as an art statement. Who are we to judge what graffiti is good or bad in Wynwood or what sculptures are good or bad? So it's going to stay up."
Miami police may feel differently, WTVJ reported. The station reported that police asked the property manager to remove the statue, but noted that the nude presidential hopeful is expected to be relocated closer to the iconic Wynwood Wall.
Unlike monuments of most political figures in cities across the globe, the Trump statues are far from flattering. They're oddly shaped, lack one key element of the male reproductive system and dramatically play down another.
The eyes scowl, the mouth pouts, and the veiny, almost reptilian skin looks like it was torn off a human-size frog and dipped in bronzer.
The job of conceptualizing and creating the statues fell to a man who goes by the name "Ginger," a Las Vegas-based artist. Ginger told The Post last month that he has a long history of designing monsters for haunted houses and horror movies.
In addition to doing makeup for a Busta Rhymes video, Ginger's résumé includes another source of great pride for the artist: He's a regular keynote speaker at haunted house conventions across the country. (We checked and, yeah, they're a thing.)
"When the guys approached me, it was all because of my monster-making abilities," he said, referring to INDECLINE members. "Trump is just yet another monster, so it was absolutely in my wheelhouse to be able to create these monstrosities."
And that's not the only reason the sculptor considered himself the ideal candidate. Ginger's mother gave birth to him via C-section and — before doctors had time to remove him from the womb — his hand popped out of the slit in his mother's abdomen, covered in maternal slime, he said, prompting a nurse to faint.