UPDATE September 15, 4:23 p.m.: A Mana spokesperson says the Trump statue has been moved to the rooftop of a Mana-owned building at the corner of NW 23rd Street and NW Second Avenue in Wynwood.
Last month, statues depicting Donald Trump in the nude began popping up in a variety of U.S. cities. Naked Trump terrorized Los Angeles and Cleveland. Naked Trump shocked Seattle and San Francisco. Naked Trump appeared in New York City's Union Square, attracting crowds until it was removed by the city's parks department, which offered this explanation: “NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.”
Now, Naked Trump surveys Wynwood from high atop
According to Tony Albelo, CEO of SWARM, the event management team that oversees the former RC Cola factory property where the statue now stands, Naked Trump appeared overnight, looking west toward I-95. "I was driving in this morning, to my office right here by RC Cola, and I'm like, Holy cow, that wasn't there yesterday. Somebody must have put it up at night."
The statues in other U.S. cities were the work of INDECLINE, an anonymous anarchist collective that titled the works The Emperor Has No Balls. Like those works, the Wynwood Trump has similar features: a protruding gut, an uncomfortable expression, and the trademark tiny penis that made news of the statues a nationwide story. Trump's stance, with hands clasped above his potbelly, is also the same. So far, the group has not claimed responsibility for the Wynwood statue. INDECLINE did not immediately respond to New Times' request for comment.
UPDATE: INDECLINE has confirmed the Wynwood statue is indeed courtesy of the collective. In a statement, the group says it was contacted by Mana Wynwood to install the statue in Miami, as well as at a property Mana owns in Jersey City, New Jersey. Both statues were erected overnight last night and will remain on view until the November election.
But though Miami's naked Trump statue is perched atop a billboard for next month's III Points festival — a festival that has a strong arts component — it doesn't appear to be affiliated with the event. A spokesperson for III Points had not heard of the statue this morning, and Albelo says event organizers told him they were not involved.
There's one difference between New York's naked Trump statues and Wynwood's, however: The Wynwood version is staying put, at least for now.
"We're not going to take it down," Albelo vows. "We're going to leave it there, not as a political statement, but as an art statement. Who are we to judge what graffiti is good or bad in Wynwood or what sculptures are good or bad? So it's going to stay up.
"It's actually kind of cool to have something in the national spotlight hitting us in Wynwood," he says.
UPDATE: Channel 10 reports that Miami police have asked the property owner to remove the statue, citing safety concerns. When New Times called the Miami Police Department, a spokesperson refused to comment or confirm that report, saying only that police were "not physically taking it down." Mana Contemporary did not immediately respond to New Times request for comment.
UPDATE September 14, 4:56 p.m.: Moishe Mana, chairman of Mana Contemporary and Wynwood developer, confirmed that police asked him to move the statue in order to avoid backups and accidents caused by onlookers driving on I-95. His team plans to comply and move the statue closer to NW Second Ave., but no concrete location or moving date have been determined yet. Mana said he has also planned a larger exhibit of Trump-themed street art, but declined to share details at this time.
UPDATE September 14, 8:39 p.m.: The statue has been removed. We'll update this post when Naked Trump reemerges.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.