There’s a new food truck parked under the Brooklyn Bridge: it’s big, it’s bright yellow, it’s… disturbingly bulbous, and it’s giving out hot dogs — with your choice of ketchup or mustard — for free.
Designed to resemble a curvaceous Volkswagen microbus, Hot Dog Bus is a piece of mobile art that was commissioned by the New York City Public Art Fund from Austrian artist Erwin Wurm. Through the end of summer, visitors are invited to approach this bloated cousin of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and the Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro and snag one free all-beef hot dog per day. The Public Art Fund estimates that 50,000 hot dogs will be given out by the end of the exhibition.
But the question remains: what the hell is wrong with this bus?
Wurm has been stretching cars out, folding them over, and puffing them up in his artwork since 2001. To him, cars don’t just protect us and move us around; they also define our identity and can be a representation of who we want to be. Presenting them in this distorted light is a way to make museumgoers (or hotdog-eaters) think not only about how they see cars in general, but also the glossy, consumerist culture that cars represent.
To give this van its lurid lemon lumps, Wurm packed different types of styrofoam and putty on top of an ordinary VW T2, and sprayed it with a glossy coat of car paint. He calls the result a “mechanical system…