Hot Dog in the City

Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw

Public Unveiling on April 30, at 12pm
Daily Confetti Celebrations | 12pm

Get out the Vote! Elect the People’s Condiment

 

Frankfurters, wieners, Coneys, red hots! Dynamic artist duo Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw take street meat to new heights with a sculpture of the iconic New York City style hot dog. Complete with hydraulics and bursts of confetti, this spectacular animatronic installation sited in the heart of Times Square will also be an anchor for serious talks, playful performances, and political debate. At 65 feet long, Hot Dog in the City will top the record for World’s Largest Hot Dog Sculpture.

Public Programming & Events

Friday, May 3 | 6–8pm
Condiment Wars: A Wrestling Match featuring the EWA and Choke Hole

Free, RSVP Encouraged

Friday, May 10 | 5–6pm
The Hottest Dog Show: A Canine Beauty Pageant with AKC Museum of the Dog

Free, RSVP Encouraged

Friday, May 17 | 12–1pm
Hot Dog Eating Contest with Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs & Major League Eating

Free, RSVP Encouraged

Sunday, June 9 | 12–5pm
To Be Frank: A Hot Dog Summit with Town Hall Presents

The Town Hall, 123 W 43rd St
Tickets Required

Learn More About Hot Dog in the City Events


With equal parts spectacle, celebration, and critique, Catron and Outlaw symbolically supersize the all-American hot dog to examine consumption, capitalism, class, and contemporary culture. Hot Dog in the City builds upon the artists’ layered conceptual practice which spans elaborate large-scale sculptures, kinetic installations and immersive experiences, often infused with humor and camp to prompt cultural and political commentary.

Introduced to the American masses by central European immigrants as a working-class street food in the 1800s, the hot dog has since become synonymous with contemporary American culture — a staple at baseball games and Fourth of July celebrations, and even employed as a tool of US international relations, referred to as “hot dog diplomacy.” As a symbol and a street cart offering, the hot dog is also a mainstay throughout Times Square and a New York City icon, akin to the yellow taxi cab, the pretzel, the deli cup, and the Playbill.

Free and on view to the public 24/7 during its exhibition in Times Square, Hot Dog in the City consists of  a colossal bun and classic red-tinged frankfurter topped with a giant drizzle of mustard. Controlled by hydraulic mechanisms, the hot dog will periodically ascend toward the sky and shower visitors below with confetti. Staged at high noon, these confetti festivities playfully reference quintessential American celebrations — from New Year’s Eve and hometown parades, to political rallies and gender reveal parties — as well as the hyper-masculinity and showmanship often associated with American culture and patriotism.

While Catron and Outlaw’s sculpture reverberates with the spectacle and towering scale that defines Times Square, the colossal frank also serves as a Trojan horse for deeper dialogue. Drawing parallels between the history of the hot dog and American culture as a whole, the project sheds light on topics such as street vending as an immigrant experience, the underbelly of the meat industry, the patriarchy of meat-eating, and American politics.

Throughout the duration of the project, Catron, Outlaw and Times Square Arts will activate the sculpture and its surroundings with public programs that explore the complexities, conflicting views, and absurdities and lore of the hot dog in New York City and America. Performances, talks, debates, and contests—such as a virtual condiment ballot box, wrestling matches, and dialogues led by street vendors and food historians—aim to inspire meaningful conversations and draw unexpected intersections. Whether you’re Team Ketchup vs Team Mustard, a vegan or competitive meat eater, the hot dog offers a low-stakes exercise in engaging opposing views and embracing a diversity of perspectives. The simultaneously delightful and grotesque super-sized artwork holds multitudes of opportunities for both entertainment and contemplation.

To further uplift the voices of street vendors and the critical civic issues that shape the landscape of their work, the artists will launch a video series with the Street Vendor Project (SVP)—a membership-based organization that champions the rights of street vendors as small businesses to earn a living and contribute to the culture and life of New York City.

Fabrication services for Hot Dog in the City were handled by The Factory NYC, Stronghold Fine Arts and Themendous Scenic Studios. A special thank you to Marc Agger at Agger Fish Co.


PUBLIC PROGRAMMING

Tuesday, April 30 – Thursday, June 13 | 12pm
Daily Confetti Celebrations

Controlled by hydraulic mechanisms, the hot dog will ascend daily and shower visitors below with a humble burst of confetti. Staged at high noon, these confetti festivities playfully reference quintessential American celebrations — from New Year’s Eve and hometown parades, to political rallies and gender reveal parties — as well as the hyper-masculinity and showmanship often associated with American culture and patriotism.

Friday, May 3 | 6–8pm
Condiment Wars: A Wrestling Match featuring the EWA and Choke Hole

Free, RSVP Encouraged

Come experience athletic theater and the art of aggression in the most absurd fashion — a wrestling extravaganza at the foot of the Hot Dog! The event begins with EWA wrestling group pitting toppings against toppings in the ultimate tongue-in-cheek smackdown. Headlining the pageantry are the drag wrestling queens of Choke Hole, who take down masculinity, corporate America, and capitalism in their signature fever-pitch matches — a perfect match for Times Square.

Friday, May 10 | 5–7pm
The Hottest Dog Show: A Canine Beauty Pageant with AKC Museum of the Dog

Free, RSVP Encouraged

Join us for the crowning of New York City’s most captivating canine at The Hottest Dog Show, a four-legged beauty pageant co-presented with the AKC Museum of the Dog. With discerning judges awarding prizes in the swimwear, talent, and congeniality categories, this completely unofficial preamble to the Westminster Dog Show unleashes the constructs of traditional Miss America Pageants to celebrate everyone’s favorite insta-famous pooches.

Friday, May 17 | 12–1pm
Hot Dog Eating Contest with Nathan’s Hot Dogs & Major League Eating

Free, RSVP Encouraged

A time-honored tradition rewarding the most skillful engorgement, Nathan's Famous and Major League Eating will host a real deal hot dog eating contest under the shadow of the most imposing frank of all, Hot Dog in the City. Featuring both reputable competitors and amateur eaters alike, the top male and female finishers from the Times Square-based qualifying event will compete at the ESPN-televised 2024 Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island on July 4th.

According to Nathan’s Famous, the origin story of this celebrated competition is rooted in a performance of patriotism — supposedly on July 4th in 1916, four European immigrants were arguing about who amongst them is more American, and decided to settle it with a hot dog eating contest. Regardless of its true roots, the annual Coney Island event has sparked a bona fide endurance sport and storied American spectacle. Join us to witness champion chewers take on the seemingly impossible with maximum bravado in Times Square.

Sunday, June 9 | 12–5pm
To Be Frank: A Hot Dog Summit with The Town Hall

The Town Hall, 123 W 43rd St
Ticket Required

Enjoy a day of frank conversation, hearty debate, and an impressive lineup of panels and performance organized by dynamic artist duo Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw for their public art commission Hot Dog in the City. Food historians, competitive eaters, street vendors, sausage makers, authors, activists, and artists draw unexpected parallels between the history of the hot dog and capitalism, consumption, and politics of the American dream.

Participants include comedian and author Jaime Loftus (Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs); feminist-vegan writer and activist Carol J. Adams (The Sexual Politics of Meat); food historian Krishnendu Ray, PhD; and Mohamed Attia of Street Vendors Project. Evocative and lively interludes include The Jungle, an operatic presentation on the underbelly of the meat-packing industry; and a condiment-themed debate by the high schoolers of The NY Parliamentary Debate League.

The critical issues unpacked from just beneath the skin of this unassuming sausage will include street vending and the American immigrant experience; food sovereignty; the patriarchy of meat-eating; gender bias in competitive eating; and more.

Thursday, June 13 | 12pm
Closing Ceremony & Election Results

Which condiment is, once and for all, the superior topping? When the people’s votes are counted, will it come down to ketchup vs. mustard, or will an underdog like onions take the crown? As the programmatic conclusion to a well-rounded buffet of hot dog worship, the election results will be released in dramatic fashion to officially close out Hot Dog in the City.

Get out the Vote! Elect the People’s Condiment

 

ABOUT JEN CATRON AND PAUL OUTLAW
Jen Catron (b. 1984, Bluford, Illinois) and Paul Outlaw (b. 1980, Fairhope, Alabama)  are collaborative artists who create staged, large-scale sculptures, kinetic installations, and participatory performances
that oscillate between the tragic and absurd. The duo’s enduring fascination with gastronomy and performance took them all the way to the reality TV show “Chopped,” which became the pinnacle of their performative fish fry food truck project. Catron and Outlaw often use humor, camp, and spectacle as a subtle veil for subversion, and their layered conceptual works become a genuinely playful and entertaining platform for pointed cultural and political commentary. The two first met and joined forces while studying at the Cranbrook Academy of Art located outside of Detroit, Michigan. After graduation, they relocated their art practice to Brooklyn, New York, where they continue to live and work. Their work has been exhibited at institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Cranbrook Art Museum, and Postmasters Gallery.


Support for Hot Dog in the City is provided in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

New DCA Footer LogoNYSCA Footer Logo