Anonymous street artist Plastic Jesus crucified Kanye West on Wednesday morning at the corner of Hollywood and La Brea, where he installed his annual rip on the Oscars just days before the ceremony on Feb. 26.
This year’s takedown was erected under the familiar art deco sculpture that marks the intersection, and features a life-sized version of the familiar gold Oscar sculpture crucified on a pedestal reading “False Idol.” Replacing the usually faceless figure is the likeness of Kanye West wearing a crown of thorns, though some tourists had trouble recognizing the pop star.
It happened quickly at around 10:30 a.m. PT, when a pickup parked in a nearby lot and artists carried the work in pieces through the crosswalk, assembling it in a matter of minutes. Few seemed to notice, though tourists paused for pictures with the piece, unaware that it was anything out of the ordinary.
“Kanye is a genius. He is a brilliant writer and producer, but we’ve built him up to a god-like idol,” the anonymous artist tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Look at what happened to him at the end of last year when he went into a mental facility suffering from anxiety, stress and, I think, depression.”
For the fourth year in a row, the statuette is the basis for the artist’s commentary on the entertainment industry and its excesses. Four years ago, a similar sculpture appeared, with the familiar art deco gold man standing up right with a needle in his arm, commenting on actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s overdose. The following year featured Oscar on all fours, snorting lines of cocaine off a red carpet, and last year a he became a she – a stripper wearing only pasties and a G-string stuffed with cash.
“The Oscars is a great celebration of Hollywood and the movie industry in general,” explains the artist. “But let’s not forget about some of the underlying stories that are there within the movie environment, like drugs, like grooming people into idols and having certain expectations of them, or the seedy side of the industry, like stripping and prostitution.”