World's Largest Hot Dog Sculpture Debut in Times Square this April

Wednesday, April 3, 2024
World's Largest Hot Dog Sculpture Debut in Times Square this April

Times Square Arts presents Hot Dog in the City, a 65 foot-long public art installation by the dynamic artist duo Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw.

Equal parts spectacle, celebration, and critique, the project supersizes the hot dog as an iconic symbol of New York City and American culture to examine class, consumption, capitalism, and the myths of the American Dream. Hot Dog in the City builds upon Catron and Outlaw’s renowned conceptual practice, which spans elaborate large-scale sculptures to kinetic installations and immersive experiences often infused with humor and camp to prompt cultural and political commentary. The project will be on view in Times Square’s largest plaza, Duffy Square, from April 30 to June 13, 2024.

“Like us, the hot dog is an absurd mass of mashed-up fragments masquerading as one remarkable product, a Trojan Horse of individual narratives and sordid histories. When you boil it down, there’s no symbol that better relishes the American conglomerate than our audacious, record-breaking hot dog…unless that hot dog is also in Times Square,” said Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw.

Introduced to the American masses by central European immigrants as a working-class street food in the 1800s, the hot dog has since become synonymous with contemporary American culture – a staple at baseball games and Fourth of July celebrations, and even employed as a tool of US international relations, referred to as “hot dog diplomacy.” As a symbol and a street cart pervasive, the hot dog is also a mainstay throughout Times Square and a New York City icon, akin to the yellow taxi cab, the pretzel, the deli cup, and the Playbill.

Free and on view to the public 24/7 during its exhibition in Times Square, Hot Dog in the City consists of a colossal bun and classic red-tinged frankfurter topped with a giant drizzle of mustard. Controlled by hydraulic mechanisms, the hot dog will periodically ascend toward the sky and shower visitors below with confetti. Staged at high noon, these confetti festivities playfully reference quintessential American celebrations — from New Year’s Eve and hometown parades, to political rallies and gender reveal parties — as well as the hyper-masculinity and showmanship often associated with American culture and patriotism.

Hot Dog in the City is the brainchild of Brooklyn-based artist duo Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw, celebrated for their subversive multimedia practice encompassing performance, painting, video, and animatronics to create unique participatory experiences that oscillate between the tragic and absurd. Frequently focused on food, their work unpacks the complexities of contemporary culture, including consumerism, capitalism, inequity, and excess. Their giant ice cream sundaes and hams have been exhibited at institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and Cranbrook Art Museum. The duo’s enduring fascination with gastronomy and performance took them all the way to the reality TV show “Chopped,” which became the pinnacle of their performative fish fry food truck project.

While Catron and Outlaw’s sculpture reverberates with the spectacle and towering scale that defines Times Square, the colossal frank also serves as a decoy for deeper dialogue. Drawing parallels between the history of the hot dog and American culture as a whole, the project sheds light on topics such as street vending as an immigrant experience, the underbelly of the meat industry, the patriarchy of meat-eating, and American politics.

Main Image :Artists Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw. Set Design by the Artists. Photo by Kat Ryals.

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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