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Edible Art: A Hot Dog Bus is coming to Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer

April 19, 2018 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Artist Erwin Wurm’s “Hot Dog Bus,” a modified, vintage Volkswagen Microbus that has been transformed into a bloated and bizarre hot dog stand is coming to Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer. Photo courtesy of Studio Erwin Wurm, Bonn 2017

Get your hot dogs here!

Brooklynites won’t have to travel to Nathan’s in Coney Island to get delicious (yet dangerously greasy) hot dogs this summer.

Public Art Fund’s summer series kicks off with Erwin Wurm’s “Hot Dog Bus,” a modified, vintage Volkswagen Microbus that has been transformed into a bloated and bizarre hot dog stand.

The “absurd, yet approachable” 11-week exhibition will open in Brooklyn Bridge Park on June 9 and will be parked on Saturdays at Pier 1 and Sundays at Pier 5. Parkgoers can enjoy franks for free. It’s an art attack in all sense of the word.

Hot dogs are not only an iconic street food of The Big Apple, but also a staple of Austria, the artist’s homeland. In addition to the vehicle itself, the act of eating the frankfurters is a further sculptural element, according to Wurm.   

Wurm, 63, came to prominence, according to the art fund’s Associate Curator Daniel S. Palmer, by pushing the boundaries between the human body and sculpture.

“Through making something slightly surreal or strange, by creating this transformation of an everyday object, he hopes to encourage us to look at our world in a new light and to be a little more thoughtful about the world around us,” Palmer, a Williamsburg resident and curator of the exhibit, told the Brooklyn Eagle.  

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“Certainly I would say with the capitalist encouragement to consume and consume and buy and acquire things, that sometimes creates this kind of bloated mode of consumption that’s not as thoughtful,” he continued.

Wurm fell in love with Brooklyn Bridge Park, Palmer said, for its diverse crowd, family atmosphere, breathtaking views and countless groves.

“Hot Dog Bus” is an iteration of Wurm’s “Curry Bus,” which sold curry to people in Berlin. For the piece’s U.S. debut, the artist altered the interior of the van to accommodate a sausage stand and painted the exterior mustard yellow.

“The hot dog, originally an immigrant food and one with Brooklyn roots, has become so ubiquitous and so quintessentially American, that to have it served from the bus is a generous component of the exhibition,” Palmer told the Eagle.

“If you’re not eating anything like this you might be missing out on something that’s quite fun and enjoyable and an important part of our cultural heritage,” he said. “At the same time, man cannot live on a hot dog alone.”

The Public Art Fund has a history of bringing vibrant contemporary art to New York City through its free exhibitions. The nonprofit organization installs artwork that not only complements the surrounding urban environment, but ones that whimsically play with it too.

The group commissioned several prominent pieces in Brooklyn Bridge Park, including Martin Creed’s “Understanding” in May 2016, a 25-foot-tall, rotating neon sculpture on Pier 6.

Last May, the nonprofit brought Anish Kapoor’s “Descension” to Pier 1, a 26-foot-wide endless whirlpool. In May 2015, the organization installed Jeppe Hein’s “Please Touch The Art,” a series of interactive sculptures, mirrors and fountains.

Not far from the 85-acre park, the art fund also brought Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s “Fences” to a Downtown Brooklyn bus shelter.

“Hot Dog Bus” will be parked at Pier 1 on Saturdays and at Pier 5 on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. The free weenies will be limited to one per visitor.

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

Public Art Fund commissioned several free art exhibits in Brooklyn Bridge Park, including Anish Kapoor's "Descension," a 26-foot-wide endless whirlpool. Photo: James Ewing, Public Art Fund, NY

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