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Old 02-18-2018, 07:19 AM
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Default Statue of suit-wearing dog sparks outcry in Chinatown


Statue of suit-wearing dog sparks outcry in Chinatown
By Dean Balsamini
February 17, 2018 | 3:58pm | Updated

The dog man statue that would be installed in Chinatown.

This statue is in the doghouse.

A 900-pound bronze sculpture of a natty canine in a business suit holding a red apple was set to be unveiled in the heart of Chinatown Thursday in time to ring in the Year of the Dog.

But those plans were scrapped after residents barked that it would be a desecration to the hallowed Kimlau Square, which honors fallen US service members of Chinese descent.

“This insulting image of a ‘Dog-Man’ has no place next to this sacred and solemn community site where we honor our community heroes,” groused local arts advocate Amy Chin, the organizer of an online petition that had 522 signatures as of Friday, the first day of the Lunar or Chinese New Year. “This is offensive in light of the long history of degrading caricatures of Chinese as dogeaters in American popular culture.”

The Chinatown Partnership commissioned world-famous husband-and-wife artists Gillie and Marc Schattner to create one of their signature sculptures for the installation. Their similar seven-foot-tall Paparazzi Dogman and Paparazzi Rabbitgirl were installed last summer in front of Midtown’s 1221 Avenue of the Americas to rave reviews.

“In Chinese tradition, when a dog enters a home it symbolizes the coming of good fortune. The Dogman will bring good fortune to all for the New Year!” trumpeted the Chinatown Partnership proposal. “The Dogman sculpture will be holding a beautiful red apple. Since 3 is a lucky number during the Year of the Dog, the apple will feature 3 leaves.”

But some neighborhood residents, like actor-musician Geoff Lee, scoffed that the “culturally insensitive statue made by Australians (not local Asian artists) … is irrelevant to the Chinatown community and its cultural heritage; namely, a Man with a Dog’s head, dressed in Western garb, sitting in a yoga position, carrying a symbol of NYC, located at Kimlau Square – a war memorial? You cannot be further off-base!”

Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership, told The Post Friday that the controversy is a “bunch of made-up, trumped- up bull s–t.

“It’s the Year of the Dog!” he said, exasperated.

A city Parks Department spokeswoman said the agency “supports the Chinatown Partnership’s decision to find an alternative location for this public artwork, and we are working closely with them to accommodate its installation as soon as possible.”

Chen said he hopes another community group will take it.

Kimlau Square is named after Second Lt. Benjamin Ralph Kimlau, a Chinese-American World War II bomber pilot killed in 1944 while attacking Japanese installations near New Guinea.

Artist Gillie Schattner emailed The Post Saturday afternoon that “our Dogman sculptures are in China in Shanghai in major public exhibition where millions of people love them and continually send us kind words. We are sorry it was going to be placed near a memorial. Dogman is a symbol of acceptance and love and represents all mankind as one.”
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