Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Move over Mahatma Gandhi, George Washington and Abe Lincoln — there’s a new statue in the Union Square area: artist and pop culture icon Andy Warhol.
The chrome statue of Warhol dubbed The Andy Monument was unveiled Wednesday outside his old studio, known as The Factory, on 17th Street and Broadway where it will be on display for six months.
"It's awesome I think!" Kathy Farnell of Buffalo, New York, said as she gazed at the shiny new addition to Union Square. "I like how it's all silvery because he [was] sort of one of those Hollywood type people anyway and loved the silver screen."
It was commissioned by the Public Art Fund and created by artist Rob Pruitt, who said he was inspired to make the sculpture shiny as an homage to the silver foil wallpaper in Warhol's original Factory.
The 10-foot statue of Warhol is circa the late 1970s, and he is sporting a tweed jacket and Levis with a Polaroid camera hanging around his neck and his iconic mop-like wig.
Painter Robert Saaf said he thinks the statue is in an ideal location.
“Warhol's studio was here obviously and there are a lot of artist studios all along Union Square," he said. "I've had one here for seven years. I think it’s exciting that they’re acknowledging that."
Saaf said he's planning an open studios event in May to correspond with the exhibit of the statue.
Fellow Manhattanite Romy Ashby, who wandered over to the statue with a handful of vegetables from the farmers market to sneak a peek, said she remembers seeing Warhol around town when he was alive.
"I think it’s great to have a statue of Andy. I’m surprised there isn’t one already," she said.