Yesterday an Abe Lincoln statue in Manchester, UK got some fresh new gear: a couple four finger rings, an oversized Union nameplate, gold chains and a flat brimmed Yankees cap. Despite the date, April 1st, this was no prank but the work of Brooklynâ€™s own Leon Reid, an artist specializing in reworking public space for more than a decade. Reid was commissioned by the Urbis Museum to produce “True Yank” in connection with a new exhibition, “State of the Art: New York“.
Of the Presidential makeover, Reid says, â€œHomeboy needed it â€¦ He now has some bling to accompany his rock hard pose.â€ Joking aside, Reid hopes people will question Lincolnâ€™s identity and significance to African Americans. Of course, not everyone will though.
The Manchester Evening News found Sam Clough, a nearby sandwich artist, who complains “they’ve turned it into some kind of African gangster statue,” which he finds both “daft” and “insulting.”
Below are a couple of the artist’s sketches to see how the concept became reality.
Images from Leon Reid.