A six-foot-tall nude sculpture of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has generated its share of controversy and commentary since its short-lived (ahem) erection in Cleveland Heights, along with four other replicates that popped up in American cities this summer. The statue's newest purpose is bringing more public art to Cleveland Heights, thanks to an upcoming auction at Gray's Auctioneers
Entitled The Emperor Has No Balls
, the piece by Cleveland-born artist Joshua “Ginger” Monroe will be lot No. 1
in Gray's October 26 auction. A private preview is available for bidders on October 19, 20, 21, 22 & 24, 25, with Gray's displaying a life-size photograph of the sculpture throughout the week.
Available for auction live and online, the salmon-colored Trump effigy is estimated to garner $10,000 to $20,000. Proceeds will benefit public art funding in the Coventry Village Special Improvement District
, along with public projects developed by community arts nonprofit Heights Arts
. Artist Monroe will also get a piece of the Trump pie once the sale is complete.
Coventry Village is where the sculpture was initially placed by activist collective INDECLINE
, says Angie Hetrick, executive director of the Coventry SID. Cleveland Heights police confiscated the piece 24 minutes after it was set up near the corner of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard.
Monroe liberated his work in mid-September for a $110 impound fee. Of the five statues created by the Garfield Heights native, the Cleveland piece is the only one he reclaimed. The others were destroyed (New York), still in police custody (San Francisco) or picked up by a private business (Seattle). A Los Angeles sculpture going up for auction October 22 was not claimed by either Monroe or the INDECLINE group.
"It's a really unique piece for an interesting political season," says Hetrick. "We're honored that our neighborhood, of all the cool neighborhoods in Cleveland, was chosen for the statute."
Coventry and Heights Arts leaders are excited to put the auction proceeds to good use. Hetrick points to possible new public art projects similar to the arch
at Coventry P.E.A.C.E. park.
"This is a wonderful thing that will bring long-lasting public pieces that beautify the neighborhood," Hetrick says. "What's beautiful about is that street art becomes more street art."
The arts-focused effort is a perfect remedy for a contentious election cycle, adds the Coventry official.
"(The auction) is a chance at a piece of history," says Hetrick. "Love or hate Trump, nobody can disagree this is going to a great cause."
Starting at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 26, Fresh Water's editor, Erin O'Brien, will cover the auction live from Gray's on her twitter feed, @erin__obrien.