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Donald Trump’s visage on a pothole (image courtesy Jim Bachor)

In Chicago, Jim Bachor is known for beautifying the city’s dilapidated streets by filling its concrete craters with beautifully crafted mosaics of flower bouquets. There, passersby are so enthusiastic about Bachor’s street art that he has all but gained official approval from authorities to continue his work. In 2014, the city’s Transportation Department even told the Chicago Tribune that “Mr. Bachor and his art are proof that even the coldest, harshest winter can not darken the spirits of Chicagoans.”

(image courtesy Jim Bachor)

But Chicago is not New York. Our streets are danker. Our potholes are bigger. And our Department of Transportation is crueler. (Shout out to the MTA!) Appropriately, then, Bachor decided to debut a new series of mosaics for this concrete bunghole where dreams are made up called “Vermin of New York.” The compilation includes dead rats, cockroaches, and pigeons — oh! — and President Donald Trump’s face.

“I assume most New Yorkers hate him,” Bachor replied to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.

Some people have a face for movies. Some people have a face for television. some people have a face for radio. Others, apparently, have a face for potholes.

Speaking with the New York Post, Bachor added that “it could be seen in both ways — one that you’re honoring our president or that you get to drive over Trump.”

(image courtesy Jim Bachor)

As the artist now reluctantly admits, his interview with the New York Post may have cost him his big NYC debut. (The article included locations for each of the artist’s sites.) When the newspaper reached out to the city’s DOT for comment, spokeswoman Alana Morales had this to say:

Aside from putting himself in harm’s way in the middle of roadways, the artist’s adding of artwork in the street is a danger to all road users, which poses safety hazards should drivers become distracted by the art.

“They weren’t kidding around. [I] have never run into this kind of blowback in any city I’ve done them in before,” Bachor remarked to Hyperallergic via email. “I made it easy for them by providing the locations of the art.”

(image courtesy Jim Bachor)

(image courtesy Jim Bachor)

(image courtesy Jim Bachor)

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Zachary Small

Zachary Small was the senior writer at Hyperallergic and has written for The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Nation, The Times Literary Supplement, Artforum, and other publications. They have...

6 replies on “Artist Who Filled New York Pothole with Trump’s Face Sees Artwork Removed by City”

  1. Ahhh . . . The insanity of the DOT! They have the time and the money to remove these extraordinary mosaics, but not the wherewithal to keep the roads in repair in the first place.

    Alana Morales’ statement could not be more disingenuous if she tried. Does she really expect us to believe that the potholes themselves are any less of “a danger to all road users, which poses safety hazards” than these mosaics, let alone all the road signs and advertising that draw a driver’s eyes away from the business of driving itself?

  2. I guess on the bright side:
    The city used their discretionary authority to censor his aggressively offensive and politically provocative “hate art”

    Maybe he can build his very own side sidewalk smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic ocean,
    and artistically express himself there.
    After all,
    nobody is stopping him.

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