‘He has become the swamp’ Artist behind Gowanus Trump float speaks out

The float just a few days after Gable installed it beneath the Carroll Street Bridge.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

This artist is putting Trump’s impeachment scandal into context!

The Park Slope artist behind a mocking seaborne sculpture of Donald Trump claims he dumped the president’s effigy in the Gowanus Canal out a desire to see the reality star in his natural environment.

“I felt like that was really the natural place where he should be — in a canal of toxic water,” said Phil Gable. “He wanted to drain the swamp when in fact he has become the swamp.”

Gable — who first invited Brooklyn canines to pee on the president by installing miniature “Trump Stumps” in 2018 — decided to float another effigy to the man in the White House that would decompose in the canal’s noxious waters as the impeachment inquiry against him proceeds.

“With the opening of the impeachment inquiry, I feel like having a barometer to see the toxicity creep back and break him down a bit will be fun,” said Gable. “As he becomes more mentally unhinged we can see him physically decay as well.”

Gable built the float out of a mannequin and added padding to reflect Trump’s stout figure, along with a swimming ring and rubber snakes to accentuate the horror of his tenure in the White House.

“I feel like it makes him more of this multi-tentacle creature, and I feel like that would be a pretty natural form for him,” Gable said.

The artist installed the figure on Oct. 18 — just ahead of Gowanus Open Studios, a weekend-long neighborhood arts event — and attached a weight to anchor him beneath the Carroll Street Bridge so he couldn’t float away.

“I did what Congress should have done a long time ago,” Gable said. “I’ve anchored him to a place and he’s got some leeway but there’s a limit to how far he can go.”

The figure has since floated upstream a bit toward the Union Street Bridge and lodged itself on the eastern edge of the waterway, where it has found a semi-permanent home.

Dropping the Don in Brooklyn’s Nautical Purgatory was also a move to highlight the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s ongoing cleanup of the waterway, in light of Trump’s rollbacks of environmental regulations, according to Gable.

“The federal cleanup was part of the irony too, that the most fitting place to put him is in a toxic canal,” he said.

Gable didn’t reveal whether he will remove the float or what stunts he plans in the future.

“As our Commander-in-Chief says, ‘We’ll see what happens,’” he said.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@schnepsmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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