By Phil Patton
On Wednesday, General Motors announced that the planned sale of its Hummer brand to an obscure Chinese machining company had fallen through and that G.M. would end operation of the division. As if to punctuate Hummer’s demise, Jeremy Dean, an artist, is rolling out a work based on a Hummer H2. The gas-guzzling engine has been removed, and the S.U.V. can be pulled by horses.
Mr. Dean calls the piece “Back to the Futurama,” a reference to the film “Back to the Future” and the G.M. Futurama exhibition at the 1939 World’s Fair, which depicted a happy future built around motor vehicles. Mr. Dean plans to premiere the piece on Sunday, in Manhattan’s Central Park, when he hitches up two white horses named Diesel and Dean. After that, the piece will be on display at the Pulse art fair in New York, which runs from March 4-7.
Mr. Dean of New York City said on his blog that he is interested in exploring “contemporary issues by deconstructing and recontextualizing iconic symbols to gain perspective and understanding about the world in which we live.”
He said he bought the Hummer in Orlando for $15,000 and worked with Slick’s Garage in Palmetto, Fla., to modify it. He removed the engine and turned the hood and grille upside down, then cleverly reinstalled them to form an elevated coachman’s seat. Mr. Dean said the vehicle retains its chrome rims, navigation system and DVD player.
“Back to the Futurama” is a protest against unsustainable lifestyle and a rolling reminder of what could happen when the oil runs out, or “a monument to America’s consumption, greed and arrogance,” he says on his blog.
“I am making my own satirical prediction of the future,” he explains on the blog. “Unless we come up with alternative fuel sources and rethink our reliance on a hyper inflated consumption based economy; we may be left with no other options than to hook our cars up to a horse.”
Mr. Dean’s Hummer was inspired by “Hoover carts,” named for Herbert Hoover, old car bodies once pulled by mules and horses in the rural south because their owners couldn’t afford gasoline.
Hoover carts have shown up in literature, such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and were convenient props in Democratic party parades. They were referred to in Democratic political speeches, warning of the dangers of Republican economics, along with Hoover hogs (jack rabbits) and Hoover hens (pigeons). Mr. Dean’s Hummer, like those those creations, is a work of rhetorical art. The Hummer, like Hoover, became a political and social piñata.