Love them or hate them, those naked Donald Trump statues that graced five cities this past summer – a rogue art installation dubbed “the Emperor Has No Balls” – are back. Only this time the statues are in Jersey City and Miami, and they’re entirely legal.
This past August, West Coast anarchist collective Indecline installed 6-foot-5, 80-pound statues of Trump in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Cleveland and Los Angeles. The reactions were mixed: some people kissed them, posed with them or laughed at them. Some cried body-shaming. Some – like New York City mayor Bill de Blasio – noted how little they liked him when his clothes were on.
But Moishe Mana – an Israeli-born super-developer famous for turning his man with a van gig into one of New York’s biggest moving and storage operations – thought the statues depicted a figure as grim and disgusting as Trump’s ideas. “The king is naked, really,” Mana tells Rolling Stone. “This is the statement. He is no king. He’s ugly from the inside out.” Mana had been worried about Trump since he first announced his candidacy, and his rise to legitimacy only made him more fearful. “For me, a party’s not a football team,” Mana says, explaining his position against Trump. “All the past candidates were legit. There were differences on issues, but in the end, people could draw their own conclusions. But now we’re dealing with a lunatic.” Mana had already offered to donate $2 million to the charity of Donald Trump’s choice if the Republican nominee would release his tax documents (to no avail). So he decided getting a couple of these statues would have to suffice.
“We’re dealing with one of the most racist people of our lifetimes,” he says. “I see a lot of parallels with what the Germans went through in the 1920s, when Hitler rose to power. I think this guy should have been arrested a long, long time ago.”
Mana, who also owns several galleries and a 35-acre arts complex, got in touch with Indecline, who in turn worked with Ginger – the horror artist responsible for the original design – to craft two more statues. Early Wednesday morning, the two commissioned pieces went up on Mana properties: one looking over the road leading to the Holland Tunnel (which sees over 1.3 million vehicles a month) and another perched atop a billboard in the Wynwood section of Miami, clearly visible to Interstate 95. According to a spokesman for Indecline, they plan to keep them up until the election before auctioning the pieces off.
And that, it seems, will probably be the fate of at least two of the other statues.
While the statue in New York hasn’t been heard from since it was escorted out of Union Square in the back of a pickup – and the one in San Francisco is being held by the city until organizers turn themselves in on vandalism charges – those in Seattle, Los Angeles and Cleveland will have better homes.
According to Indecline, Ginger is heading to Cleveland this weekend to get the statue out of impound, and he plans to auction it to benefit a local arts collective. In Seattle, the statue was saved by a local antiques store who has kept it on display, attracting crowds from across the state. In Los Angeles, the statue was claimed by a gallery and – after a brief, as-of-yet unaired moment with Jimmy Kimmel – is going up for auction next to works from Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Keith Haring. The collective hopes to get over $10,000 to be donated to a immigrant advocacy charity, “just to spite Trump.”
“Obviously, when we did this project, we couldn’t predict what was going to happen to these things once they were put in the ground,” says the spokesperson. “Being that all of them could have very easily reached the same fate of the one in New York, we were really happy to see that some of them went a little farther down the line.”