Erwin Wurm (b. 1954, Bruck an der Mur, Styria, Austria) created Hot Dog Bus by transforming a vintage Volkswagen Microbus into an overstuffed, bright yellow food truck that serves free hot dogs to parkgoers. This welcoming artwork is intended to be generous and democratic – hot dogs were popularized in the U.S. by immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. The familiar sausage hints at the gastronomic connection between New York City’s most iconic street food and Wurm’s Austrian homeland.
Hot Dog Bus encourages us to rethink food and art as we know it. The work proposes an approach to sculpture that blurs the boundaries between artwork and audience by creating an amusing, yet thoughtful experience. Wurm is interested in the similarities between modeling a statue in clay, increasing the volume of the bus, and even the act of eating, which adds mass to our own bodies. The artist sees all of these actions as sculptural processes in their own right. Hot Dog Bus invites us to expand our concept of art to contemplate our own daily behaviors in the same way we regard the work of a master sculptor. The artwork also highlights how everyday consumption might grow into gluttony, encouraging us to examine the connections between food, consumerism, and our bodies. In doing so, Wurm creates a paradoxical tension between the playfulness of Hot Dog Bus and its wry observation of our culture’s tendency toward excess.
Wurm is well known for his works that redefine the very idea of sculpture, dissolving the limits between spectator and participant. In Hot Dog Bus, as with his celebrated One Minute Sculpture series, it is the participation of the viewer that “completes” the work. The manipulations of volume, form, and gravity have also long been interests of the artist. He has anthropomorphized everyday objects in ways that distort, bloat, or shrink their shape, most notably altering automobiles in his Fat Car series. All of these ideas are fully realized in Hot Dog Bus: by modifying a Volkswagen Microbus to create an almost surreal experience of a corporeal food truck serving hot dogs, Wurm invites visitors to explore the transformation of form of an everyday object as well as the potential of human action to create sculpture. Hot Dog Bus is the U.S. premiere of Curry Bus, reimagined for New York, and creating an absurd, yet approachable sculptural experience encouraging visitors to challenge the fundamental definitions of art.
Join us every weekend through August 26 at Pier 1 on Saturdays and Pier 5 on Sundays from 12:00pm - 6:00pm. Free hot dogs will be given out, one per visitor, until we run out. There are limited quantities available each day and the bus will be restocked every Saturday and Sunday.
The exhibition is curated by Public Art Fund Associate Curator, Daniel S. Palmer.