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Leon Reid IV, Tourist in Chief, 2011
Leon Reid IV, Tourist in Chief, 2011


Oct. 5, 2011

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If you’ve noticed a bathroom wall and sink installed on the sidewalk of 18th Street or a German woman wearing lederhosen shining shoes on 14th Street or trees covered in lipstick kisses lately, you’ve probably encountered one of the 60 artists who have created works for the annual Art in Odd Places festival in New York, Oct. 1-10, 2011.

Artist and teacher Ed Woodham launched the festival of performances, installations and interventions in the East Village and Lower East Side in 2005, and moved it to 14th Street between Avenue C and the Hudson River in 2008, where it has been held ever since. This year’s installment, called RITUAL, focuses on “ideas of ceremony, habituation, myth, obsession, superstition and liturgy” -- a particularly apt theme for the commuter-dense district.

Probably attracting the most attention is Brooklyn artist Leon Reid IV’s redecoration of the statue of George Washington in Union Square Park as so-called Tourist in Chief. Reid won hard-fought approval from the city’s Parks Department to drape Washington with a camera and shopping bags, stick a map of the city in his outstretched arm and outfit him in an “I Heart NY” cap.

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