The Rachel Report

When Scabby met Trumpy

Inflatable Trumpy, Scabby’s new BFF Photo: courtesy of Michael Paris Mazzeo

New Yorkers are well used to Scabby the Rat, a 15ft-tall inflatable that has been the protest symbol of unions for decades. This August, they made the acquaintance of Trumpy the Rat, an orange-skinned, blond-haired caricature. “It was a nice coincidence that we got it just in time for his assholiness to visit New York,” said Jeff Lee, co-founder of the gallery BravinLee Programs, which represents the artist who designed Trumpy, Jeffrey Beebe. “That union rat was for me a big inspiration because I’d pass by and marvel at how successful it was at being disgusting. It’s really good public art in itself.” The work has proven such a hit that Lee’s already imagining spinoffs. “I want to make a Jeff Sessions toy poodle that’s only three or four feet tall. Then the rat would have him on a leash or have him in his front pocket,” Lee said. “I think of Steve Bannon as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen [the villain from Dune] and I would do him as a helium balloon. He’d just be hovering like a dark wizard in the air.” Sometimes reality is scarier than science fiction.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper, 293 September 2017