A weatherworn, and better for it bronze is frozen in time trying to hail a taxi cab next to London’s Embankment.
The piece is called, unsurprisingly, Taxi and was made in 1983 by the USA based sculptor, John Seward Johnson II, who is as noted for his kitch style as he is for inheriting a fortune from the Johnson & Johnson company founded by his grandfather.
His works are often painted in very realistic colours, giving them a very different style from bronzes normally — and it’s a very marmite style, being often described as kitch.
When cast in 1983, this bronze was painted brightly, with a blue and red tie, the face was flesh coloured, and the overcoat was a pale tan.
Over the years, the bright realistic effect paintwork has worn away in the London weather, and what’s left is a bronze with far more muted colours and, in my mind, is considerably better for it.
Commissioned by the Chemical Bank Corp, the bronze is now owned by the J.P. Morgan Chase Art Collection. The statue was formerly sited in New York before being moved to London in 2014.
It sits outside the former City of London school, which are now J.P. Morgan offices overlooking the Blackfriars underpass. Sadly for the sculpture, he’s hailing a taxi facing onto a cycle lane, so he’s never going to get his lift home.