This morning, a naked statue of an overweight Hillary Clinton being suckled by the head of a banker was erected outside of the Bowling Green subway station in lower Manhattan, where it stood for almost two hours. According to news reports, a verbal scuffle ensued and a woman who identified herself as only “Nancy” called the police, who compelled the artist to remove the statue on the grounds that he had no permit to put a statue there. From here, the plot thickens.
The artist identified himself as 27-year-old Anthony Scioli, according to all of the news reports that named him. But a search for “Anthony Scioli” didn’t yield any websites promoting the alleged artist’s work. While an art critic might assess the quality of allegedly-Scioli’s magnum opus as displaying middling levels of skill and creativity at best—and thus reflective of an artist without a large body (pun intended) of work—almost every artist who makes his living by creating promotes themselves on the web. At the very least, they’ve put on a gallery show that’s been advertised on the web. A search for Scioli’s work turned up nothing.
Further, a call to Scioli’s house was met with frustration and dismay. “Listen,” said the woman who answered, and who identified herself as Scioli’s mother. “I don’t know who you are or where you’re calling from. But this isn’t funny anymore.” She told The Daily Beast that Scioli wasn’t even in town when the statue was erected.
“He just flew in this afternoon, from California,” she said. “He wasn’t even there!”
“We’ve got somebody camping outside the house! This isn’t funny! Whoever did it used his name!”
If Anthony Scioli didn’t sculpt a lactating and behooved Hillary Clinton and somehow place it in front of one of the busiest foot thoroughfares in Manhattan, right as rush hour was speeding up, then who did? And why did they give Anthony Scioli’s name and correct age to the press?
While one might not associate the right wing and artistic creation, a small, prolific alt-right art community exists. Sabo, the L.A. artist responsible for depictions of then-Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis as “Abortion Barbie” and of one of the most overly handsome depictions of Ted Cruz of all time, once appeared on a panel called “Reclaiming Cool” at CPAC. Earlier this month, a “pro-Trump art show” starring tiresome self-anointed provocateur Milo showed in Chelsea. But none of the usual suspects were taking credit, or alluding to credit, for this.
While his frazzled mother seemed genuinely terrorized by her son’s name appearing in news stories alongside statues of a grotesque and nude Hillary Clinton, the real Anthony Scioli seemed to have different ideas.
Reached by The Daily Beast, Scioli wrote [sic], “I can not confirm nor deny being this particular artist of interest. I will however say how much I appreciate the exposure this piece is garnering. It is a firm personal belief that satire brings us closer to the root of the truth of issues and I find it rather unfortunate that in these divisive times, rather then spur a healthy, more lighthearted debate, it only seems to have led to more strife. Further,In these times of self-satisfying shameless self-promotion, perhaps the artist would rather let the piece stand on its own and not make it about themselves; or Maybe your artist will come forward and tell their side, maybe they will not, maybe it's not any one individual, but rather a movement, a collective, an idea.”
But isn’t satire designed to challenge the status quo? And what is so challenging about a depiction of a powerful but despised woman as fat and grotesque? Haven’t men used women’s bodies to demean and shame them for thousands of years? The real Scioli, who may or may not have created (but probably did—come on) a mediocre statue of a naked woman and placed it in a public space, did not clarify any further.
The likelihood that this is but a tragic case of mistaken identity is slim. There’s only one 27-year-old Anthony Scioli listed on Nexis. The phone number where the woman who identified herself as his mother picked up is associated with a woman whose name appears on comments on the Facebook page of the Anthony Scioli who communicated with the Beast. Either there are two 27-year-old Anthony Sciolis with mothers with the same name, or this is the guy.
And what became of Giant Satan Hillary? Police instructed the man who identified himself as Scioli to remove it. According to the NYPD, there was no arrest or summons issued. Onlookers, according to the New York Post, wondered how the statue would be removed without the aid of a forklift. Neither Scioli nor the New York Police Department provided details of how the statue was removed.
Is 27-year-old suspiciously inexperienced artist Anthony Scioli With Her? It’s certainly possible.