The Politician.

The Politician - A Toy

Field review by the editors.

Cleveland, Ohio

We ran across this cheery monstrosity on the way to Cleveland's transparent woman and the stuffed carcass of Balto the Wonder Dog. "The Politician: A Toy" is a zany piece of public sculpture. The only place the city would allow it to be installed is on the front lawn of a warehouse property in a rundown neighborhood. That's fine with us; it would get lost in the corporate noise of downtown Cleveland. (In 2009 it was moved to the Cleveland State U. campus)

The Politician is actually quite dynamic. The wheels turn 18 hours a day; the mouth moves. It was created in 1995 by artist Billie Lawless.

Close up of the mouth.

According to visitor (and area resident) David Hansen:

"'The Politician: A Toy' almost didn't find a home because (no irony) the Mayor didn't care for it. Unlike Oldenburg's subtle 'Free Stamp' this piece of work screams loud and obvious insults at our elected rulers. In fact, I think it used to make noise, something like the garbled squawking of a fat, rich, white man, but I never slowed down enough to make sure it wasn't the radio.

"When I finally stopped to look at it up close this fall (and take pictures) the only sound it made was the slight squeak of the wheels spinning. The axle is made of No. 2 pencils. Its 'mouth' opens and closes swiftly and smoothly. At night you can see the television monitors in its eyes playing static. And that handle, whoa! Grab on and lead!"

Lawless has other eyecatchers around Cleveland; most notably a neon sign advertising "Atomic Playground Ahead" (Pearl Road and Hwy. 480). This post-Apocalyptic gag entices with "Kids! Ride the Big One."

The Politician - A Toy

Cleveland State University

Chester Ave., Cleveland, OH
Campus of Cleveland State University at 18th Street and Chester Avenue.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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