Banksy, a pseudo-anonymous graffiti artist, is back in New York, turning moving trucks into mobile gardens, touring the meatpacking district with a slaughterhouse truck full of adorable stuffed animals, and sparking social commentary about McDonald's with a frowning fiberglass sculpture of Ronald McDonald accompanied by a bedraggled, barefoot actor who sits at his feet, solemnly polishing the clown's oversized red boots. Ronald's likeness will be visiting a different McDonald's location every day during lunchtime until next Wednesday. So far, he's been spotted at several locations in the Bronx.
Here's a transcription of the recording that plays when you call the 1-800 number associated with the piece, or visit banksy.co.uk:
What you see before you is a sculpture entitled 'Shoeshine' dating from the summer of 2013, depicting the powerful figure of Ronald McDonald waiting 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. For this piece, the artist has reproduced Ronald McDonald in perfect detail, singlehandedly. If, by perfect detail, you mean 'roughly', and by singlehandedly, you mean with two people helping. The result is a critique of the heavy labor 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 will never know. (whispered) It's the second one!
For more photos of Ronald's tour around NYC, check out the gallery on Gothamist.