If you see a yellow-ish sculpture of a man’s head rolling through the Loop Friday afternoon, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you: It really is a bust of President Barack Obama made of butter.
The butter head stars in the latest performance art project from Industry of the Ordinary, helmed by Chicagoans-via-England Adam Brooks and Mathew Wilson as a way to trigger response to pop culture and art. (Locals might remember Brooks and Wilson for the ice sculpture of the Ten Commandments they carted down Michigan Avenue in 2005 en route to the Art Institute of Chicago.)
For this project, they hired Ohio artist Bob Kling, known for his butter cow sculptures, to carve Obama’s face from a mound of the unsalted emulsion. Kling worked several days in a cooler in Chicago’s Fulton Market District to perfect the final product.
Why butter? Wilson said it’s one of those peculiar American traditions that’s perennially celebrated in the country’s culture. The bust of the president, he said, aims to cause a response at “a pivotal moment” in the country less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 election.
“The piece is, itself, not pro- or anti-Obama,” Wilson said. “It seeks to provoke a reaction.”