In his hometown of Chicago, artist Jim Bachor is known for covering up unsightly potholes with mosaics depicting things people actually like: ice cream cones, flowers, donuts. So what was he doing in an East Village roadway on Friday afternoon, installing a marble-and-glass portrait of Donald Trump?
Rest assured, this was no respectful tribute. Bachor traveled to New York to do a Kickstarter-funded series entitled “Vermin of New York,” and Trump was the third installation right after a dead pigeon in Prospect Heights and a dead rat in Fort Greene.
“I say it’s less than two hours before someone puts a duce on it,” wrote one commenter after the work was unveiled on Instagram.
“I hate his face but at least cars are driving over it repeatedly,” wrote another.
IF ONLY it were this easy to shut his foul mouth. I may not do #potholemosiacyoga like @lomereaux at @jimbachor installations but I was on my way home from yoga. . #verminofnewyork #jimbachor #potholeart #streetart #mosiacart #lowereastside #lesresident #boweryboogie #notmypresident #shutup #bachor #potholemosaicyoga #newyorkpotholes
Others predicted the piece would be destroyed by a Trump hater, but it seems to have met an altogether different fate. Earlier today when we looked for it on East 2nd Street, between First and A, the work had already disappeared, with just some tiny white shards left behind in the pothole it had covered. Another mosaic in the series– a cockroach on Bleecker Street– was also extracted, per an Instagram photo.
Had the city made good on its promise to the New York Post that it would pave over the art? Asked whether the Department of Transportation had indeed covered up Trump’s mug, a DOT spokesperson gave a Huckabee-Sanders-esque response and told us, vaguely, that they anticipated repaving over the mosaics.
Bachor, who is now back in Chicago, says he has never gotten the bum rush like this in his hometown, where Chicagoist and Timeout have included his work on their lists of the city’s best public art. He claims he’s never received significant flack from cops or city workers. He did, however, get some gruff from a local doorman a little over a year ago, when he donned his trademark orange safety vest and, near Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower, installed a gold-trimmed Russian flag bearing the word “LIAR.” Someone ended up blacking out the piece, but Bachor was able to restore it with some scraping.
What could this possibly mean? “LIAR” is ready for viewing just north of Trump Tower. (That’s real gold by the way.) The goodie bag is attached to a post close by at 445 north state. Please post a pic if you nab it! Thanks again for playing along. #bachor #jimbachor #2017potholeartinstallations #2016potholeartinstallations #2015potholeartinstallations
That particular stunt cost Bachor some Instagram followers, but he wasn’t about to let that stop him from dissing Trump on his home turf. “I can’t believe this clown is leading the country,” he told us. “I can’t believe so many people are duped into buying his bullshit.”
Whatever the artist’s intentions, not everyone in the East Village was psyched about having Trump’s mug literally set in concrete. Bachor says that as he was installing the work over the course of about eight hours, one passerby “thought it was a pro-Trump thing and he was like, ‘Aw, you’re wasting your art on that guy.’”
The artist, who also sells in galleries, estimates his “Vermin of New York” pieces would go for about $1,200 a pop there. “I think removing them is just a little mean-spirited,” he told us.
Perhaps downright Trumpian?