Saturday, February 24, 2007

Get a Chance to "KICK" Bush Butt in New York

NEW YORK - New Yorkers got to kick President George W. Bush's butt on Thursday, sort of.

Performance artist Mark McGowan kicked off his bid to crawl for 72 hours across Manhattan dressed as the president, offering the opportunity to kick his backside.

The controversial artist from London began his odyssey from New York's Lincoln Centre wearing a rubber George Bush mask, a business suit, knee pads, work gloves and a sign stuck to his cushioned posterior reading simply: "Kick My Ass".

Though few ordinary New Yorkers, other than fellow artists, cameramen and photographers, were present for the launch on a wet workday afternoon, some people gave him a kick.

"It felt real good to kick Bush," said Casmirr Sharp, 52, of New York's Queens borough. "He really deserves more than a kick."

McGowan told Reuters he hopes his performance proves therapeutic to the city's denizens. But he insisted his work was no publicity stunt but art: "It's definitely an art form. A lot of the things I do are a bit silly but they always have a political edge to them."

McGowan said he does not have any particular political stance on the Republican president, who has seen his approval ratings plunge in the face of an unpopular war in Iraq.

McGowan made his name in Britain with a series of controversial acts including a performance called "Dead Soldier" where he dressed up in army fatigues and lay in the streets for a week. He also crawled 60 miles from London to the town of Canterbury.

McGowan's latest act is part of the Scope International Art Fair at the Lincoln Centre performing arts complex.

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