Austrian artist Erwin Wurm is ringing in the summer with his latest whimsical creation: the Hot Dog Bus, which is now slinging out free frankfurters at Brooklyn Bridge Park on summer weekends. For this art (and culinary) experience, Wurm has transformed a vintage Volkswagen Microbus into a yellow “overstuffed food truck” that will shuttle around Pier 1 on Saturdays and Pier 5 on Sundays, from noon to 6 PM.
Why a hot dog on wheels? The mobile sculpture is a playful tribute to the gastronomic connections between New York City’s staple street food and Wurm’s Austrian homeland. But despite the bus’ playful and endearing form, it is also meant to question material overconsumption with its bulbous form, as well as underscore the relationship between food and culture.
Much like the currywurst for Germany or the Frankfurter for Austria, the hot dog has deep ties to New York: it serves as a symbol of the Eastern European immigration wave during the 19th century, and is also an iconic item eaten at sporting events, barbecues and, of course, on the streets.
“For decades, Erwin Wurm has been inviting us to interact with sculpture in surprising and paradoxical ways,” said Public Art Fund Associate Curator Daniel S. Palmer, who organized the exhibition. “With his latest mobile artwork, Hot Dog Bus, he encourages audiences to participate by generously offering us a classic New York City hot dog. At face value, this appears to be a quintessential summertime treat served from one of his signature sculptural forms, but in Erwin’s subtle and clever way, he draws us toward a deeper level of engagement, helping us to consider how food, consumer culture, and our bodies are inextricably linked.”
The Hot Dog Bus, Wurm’s first solo institutional exhibition in New York City, is a reimagining of his “Fat Car” series, which took form as the “Curry Bus” in Germany. Catch it riding through Brooklyn Bridge Park until August 26, 2018. For more information about locations, visit PublicArtFund.org.