An inflatable rat, bearing the likeness of President Donald Trump and embodying what art gallery owner John Post Lee said were the “negative traits” of the Republican party, has made another appearance in Chelsea since it last graced the sidewalk outside Trump Tower in August.
The “Trump Rat,” decked out in the president’s coifed blond hair and well-known hand gestures, was on view Thursday on the northwest corner of 58th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The installation, which went up at 10 a.m., was taken down between 6 and 7 p.m., Lee, who owns BravinLee programs, said.
The 15-foot-tall inflatable rat, which was originally created by artist Jeffrey Beebe, was reinstalled “in the wake of President Trump’s fateful series of NATO meetings and state visits in Europe, ending with his controversial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland,” according to a statement from the co-presenters, BravinLee programs, an art gallery in Chelsea, and Drutt Creative Arts Management, a consulting firm.
On Thursday, co-producer Matthew Drutt was seen wearing a black T-shirt with Putin’s face on it, below which was written “Most Beloved of The People” in Russian.
The work has been inspired by inflatable rats that protesting union members use against employers during pickets, according to the parties that commissioned the installation.
While bearing a striking resemblance to the sitting president, “Trump Rat” also “symbolizes the objectionable political platform of today’s Republican Party, which seeks to undermine the rights and well-being of the average American to benefit the so-called ‘one percent,’ the privileged class of our country who profit from the exploitation of everything from the natural environment to the pharmaceutical industry, health care system and people’s civil rights at the expense of those who lack the power and funding to fight back,” according to their statement.
Calling Trump “hopelessly narcissistic,” a “consummate bigot,” and his positive attitude toward dictators like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin “sycophantic,” co-presenters aimed to popularize the notion that Trump’s words and actions represent a desire for political hegemony “through the suspension of the very democratic values that form the bedrock of this country.”