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A robe-swaddled Harvey Weinstein statue, sitting arms spread on a golden chaise lounge urging pedestrians to sit beside him, appeared in Hollywood on Thursday days before the 90th Academy Awards ceremony.
The sculpture, located on Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, is a collaboration between street artists Plastic Jesus, best known for his annual Oscar season installations that take aim at the dark side of show business, and Joshua “Ginger” Monroe, the artist behind the infamous naked Donald Trump statues.
The piece was intentionally crafted to allow passersby to sit beside Weinstein and take photos with him. Clenched in Weinstein’s right hand is an Oscar statue, strategically placed near his groin.
“For many years the exploitation of many hopefuls and established names in the industry was brushed under the carpet with their complaints of harassment and sexual abuse being ignored or worse,” Plastic Jesus tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Hopefully, now in the light of recent allegations against many leading figures in Hollywood the industry will clean up its act.”
Plastic Jesus does not give his name but has said that he is a former London photojournalist who moved to L.A. many years ago to explore installation art as a way to tackle sociopolitical issues. His works include last year’s Kanye West crucifixion sculpture, on which he also collaborated with Ginger, and 2015’s coke-snorting Oscar statue. Ginger is a Las Vegas-based artist. His naked Donald Trump statues were installed across multiple cities in 2016.
According to the artists, the life-size Weinstein sculpture took two months to produce. A casting was initially taken from a friend of the artists, and Ginger subsequently molded the face to match Weinstein’s.
“The whole couch and the entire image it gives off was to me a visual representation of the practices and methods that are used in Hollywood with these big powerful people,” Ginger says. “They have money and power to give jobs and they use that for their own sexual gratification and there’s no better way to visualize this than the way we did with the casting couch.”
Making it Instagrammable felt only natural. “Everyone wants a selfie, everyone wants to be part of the experience,” he says.
“To be able to knock the monster down a peg and poke fun and ridicule it helps remove its power. That’s how you take these powerful people down. As Mark Twain once said, ‘Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.'”
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