Five identical nude statues of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sprang up overnight on Thursday on bustling street corners in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Seattle, quickly drawing amused crowds.
The installations of the stern-faced Trump have become the hottest destination for selfies. Trump's hands are folded over a bulging belly and some parts of male genitalia are visible, while others seemingly are missing. The activist collective Indecline, put up the statues, calling the project 'The Emperor Has No Balls'. The name is a veiled reference to Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairytale The Emperor’s New Clothes, in which a narcissistic emperor gets conned into strolling amongst his people in the nude.
"It is through these sculptures that we leave behind the physical and metaphorical embodiment of the ghastly soul of one of America's most infamous and reviled politicians," Indecline said in a statement.
The collective said the hope is that Trump "is never installed in the most powerful political and military position in the world".
Trump's campaign has so far made no comments on the statues.
New Yorkers ran down to Union Square to see as much nude Trump as their eyes could possibly tolerate. But employees of the New York City Parks Department removed the unauthorised installations.
"NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small,'' quipped parks spokesman Sam Biederman cheekily.
The risqué art work was also hours away from being removed in San Francisco where the pop up art went on display in the gay neighborhood of the Castro District where Trump is not very popular.
Indecline hired Los Angeles-based artist Ginger, who specialises in haunted houses and horror movies, to make the statues. Ginger told The Washington Post that he used 300 pounds of clay and silicone to create the statues and said the "candidate’s mouth ended up being his biggest sculpting challenge". On the right hand, the statue version of Trump is wearing "a Masonic ring, a piece of jewelry emblematic of privilege, secret handshakes and cloistered groups of powerful people," the artist said.
Ginger told the Post that the goal was to give Trump the slightest hint of a scowl — a “constipated look” — that hinted at his implicit frustration with contemporary America.
“He has a very distinct little mouth, the way his chin meets the jowl, it had to look right,” the creator told the US newspaper.
The artist started out as a Trump supporter before he switched sides. He told the Post that he was considering punching his ballot for Trump in the general election because the candidate’s message resonated with the middle class. However, the more familiar he became with Trump, the "more that familiarity bred contempt".
“The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he made fun of the disabled reporter from The New York Times,” said Ginger.
“I have family members that are physically and mentally handicapped and who need different types of care,” he added. “When I saw what he did, I was in such a rage.” That rage, he said, is one of the reasons he won’t mind seeing "the statues destroyed by police or dismantled by angry Trump supporters like a silicone piñata". The artist took four months to create the giant statutes.
It stunned America when Trump made fun of people with disabilities. In contrast, as former Secretary of State Clinton appointed the first Special Advisor on Disability Rights for the US Department of State and vigorously fought for ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
This isn’t the first time Indecline has gone after Trump. They protested several comments that Trump made about Mexican immigrants being "rapists" by spray-painting an eye-catching caricature of Trump with a ball gag in his mouth on a border wall in Tijuana. They claimed responsibility for both the anti-Trump 'Rape' mural on the US-Mexico border and a massive piece of graffiti art in California’s Mojave Desert.