New Yorkers react to strikingly indifferent statue of Elon Musk with cheerful hostility

Well-travelled billionaire's likeness very likely to follow recent examples of other questionable public art


The city of New York received an addition to its trove of often obscure and peculiar statuary when a life-sized polyester resin figure of famously charismatic Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk was unveiled in Downtown Manhattan.

The statue, which commemorates Musk's 50th birthday on 28 June and was erected by online stock trading firm Public.com – for some reason which doubtless made sense to them, at least – depicts a smiling individual with an almost passing resemblance to Musk with their hands on their head, wearing jeans and a T-shirt.

The response to the statue from New Yorkers, a breed of people well known for their tolerance, forbearance, and thoughtful opinions on public art, has been mostly positive.

"Thank you," wrote one on Twitter. "It's getting hard to find public toilets."

"How much to dump this crap in the East River?" pondered another.

"What better way to commemorate his contributions to our society [than] with an expensive, self-promoting but ultimately useless expression of showmanship no one asked for," effused a third.

There was also considerable widespread support for the idea of treating the statue with the same respect and reverence that the denizens of Bristol, UK, had shown to a statue of merchant and slave trader Edward Colston.

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The statue's startlingly distant resemblance to its inspiration has also elicited comment, with many pointing out its similarity to the famously striking bust of Cristiano Ronaldo, commissioned to grace the entrance of Madeira Airport when it was renamed after the oleaginous Portuguese football star.

Others put forward other ideas. "If George Bush Sr. and Elon had a baby it would look like this," suggested another Twitter user.

We at The Register feel that the statue certainly resembles a US president, but we are torn as to whether it looks more like a young Ronald Reagan or the statue of Jimmy Carter the residents of Springfield erect in The Simpsons and then later turn into a somewhat unconvincing tribute to Marge.

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The people of New York have only a short time to enjoy this addition to their fair city's fabled urban landscape, sited on 14th Street next to the High Line stairs, as Public.com are in the process of auctioning the statue on eBay.

If you wish to own a life-sized plastic figure of a generic 20th-century US president which looks deeply suspicious when viewed only from the waist up, then you have until 7 July to put in a bid. At the time of writing, the going price is a very affordable $2,550, although we imagine that will go up by at least another $15 or so over the next week.

Alternatively, if that is beyond your budget, then Public.com are also giving everyone the chance to own one of 100 14-inch miniatures of the statue to love and cherish forever. And you can imagine exactly what the denizens of Twitter have suggested they might do with those. ®

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