Kim Jassen, Chicago Tribune, June 27, 2017

It’s 5 foot tall, covered in gaudy gold paint and spells out the words “REAL FAKE” right in front of Trump Tower.

But don’t read anything into the city of Chicago’s decision to install artist Scott Reeder‘s provocative sculpture near the building most associated with President Donald Trump.

Any insult is entirely in the beholder’s eye, according to city spokeswoman Christine Carrino.

And if the location — at the intersection of Wabash Avenue and Wacker Drive, directly across the river from Trump Tower — happens to be in a prime spot for Trump-hating tourists and Chicagoans to snap a social media-friendly selfie, then “what’s wonderful about art is that it is completely open to interpretation,” Carrino added, coyly.

Installed Monday evening by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the sculpture was loaned to the city by Chicago artist Reeder and the Kavi Gupta Gallery.

Reeder couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. But given that he made the sculpture in 2013, it’s reasonable to assume that it wasn’t created with the intention of mocking Trump. Still, the installation, in a spot where tourists frequently take selfies making rude gestures aimed at the president, seems calculated.

The sculpture is one of five artworks selected to be installed along the Chicago Riverwalk as part of the city’s Year of Public Art. Carrino said the five spots stretching from east of Michigan Avenue to Lake Street were selected before any of the artworks were chosen but wouldn’t say why Reeder’s work got the plum spot opposite Trump Tower, or whose decision it was.

Neither the White House nor Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, who last year led the charge to remove the honorary “Trump Plaza” designation from the stretch of Wabash directly in front of Trump Tower, returned calls seeking comment.

Also electing to remain silent Tuesday was Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who in 2014 famously deemed the “TRUMP” sign installed on the riverfront side of the tower “awful” and “in very poor taste.”

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