Life-Size, Drug Snorting Oscar Statue Sparks Debate

By May Wilkerson 02/20/15

Just like he did at last year's awards, street artist Plastic Jesus has caused a stir with his latest drug-related piece.

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Here’s one award that the winners of this year’s Academy Awards won’t be taking home: a life-size Oscar statue snorting drugs that made its way to Hollywood Boulevard and generated plenty of buzz.

Street artist Plastic Jesus created the statue, which features the Oscar on his knees with the words “Hollywood’s Best Party” underneath. Although the drug-snorting statue was removed that same day after a passenger reported it to the Chamber of Commerce, it will be unveiled once again this weekend outside of an Urban Outfitters on Melrose Avenue.

“We often hear about it when a high-profile celebrity perhaps goes into rehab. People like directors, producers, hair and make-up people, electricians, sound guys and so on, these people don’t get the care, the treatment that the high-profile people can access,” explained Plastic Jesus. “This whole thing [is] about a fake idol. If one person who has a heroin addiction or cocaine addiction sees a piece of my art and gets help, well that’s it, my works done.”

Two days before last year’s Academy Awards, Plastic Jesus unveiled an eight-foot replica of an Oscar shooting heroin into its arm, a reference to the overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. The statue was placed mere blocks away from the Kodak Theater where the Oscars were to be held. Reactions on social media were mixed, with some “disgusted” by the display and others calling it a “powerful piece of commentary.”

The addiction-inspired work from Plastic Jesus comes from his own personal experience. He explained that his cousin and the man’s wife both died from heroin addictions. They had met in rehab and got married, but after the wife died from a relapse, his cousin died from one shortly after as well.

“Hard drugs are still seen as a taboo subject, with people using in the privacy of their own home or hotel room and afraid of the consequences if the world finds out about their addiction,” said Plastic Jesus in a statement. “My piece is intended to say ‘let’s be aware of the issue, remove the stigma enable people to get help and support.'"

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.