DOWNTOWN — Someone set fire to the large "REAL FAKE" sculpture that sits near Chicago's Trump Tower on Friday afternoon, forcing firefighters to come out and wash it down.
The "A" in "FAKE" took the brunt of the damage, though the "F," "R" and an "E" were slightly charred by the time the fire was put out.
Looks like someone set the "Real Fake" sculpture by Trump Tower on fire pic.twitter.com/GyqdQgevdf— David Lee Matthews (@DavidLMatthews) August 25, 2017
Larry Langford, a Chicago Fire Department spokesman, said the fire was reported at 3:10 p.m. Friday.
A manager at the nearby O'Briens cafe on the Riverwalk said the fire was caused by a rag set on fire inside the "A" in the sculpture. O'Briens staff heard customers scream and threw water on the small blaze before firefighters arrived.
And someone lit this rag on fire to do it. Employees at nearby O'Briens said they threw water on it. pic.twitter.com/niLKKUttyE— David Lee Matthews (@DavidLMatthews) August 25, 2017
City officials in June installed the peculiarly placed sculpture in front of the Trump International Hotel & Tower at 401 N. Wabash Ave. The sculpture was made by Chicago-based artist Scott Reeder.
Though the sculpture was made years before Donald Trump announced his plans to run for president, its placement Downtown this summer provides an amusing juxtaposition for people passing by his namesake tower on the Chicago River.
I believe we've hit peak-level trolling. pic.twitter.com/Zvc5lm1FDT— Anthony M. Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) June 27, 2017
The sculpture's placement could be construed as a dig at Trump, who has notoriously decried negative press as "fake news" while simultaneously tweeting unfounded claims about his White House predecessor and other things.
City officials didn't say if it's trying to send a message. "Real Fake" is one of a handful of new art pieces being installed Downtown, mostly on the Riverwalk.
"The Chicago Riverwalk is being activated with several works of art this summer," Christine Carrino, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, said in an email. "Optimal locations for art were determined prior to the selection of the specific artworks."
"Real Fake" debuted in 2013 at Art Basel Miami, and is in Chicago on loan through October.
Officer Michelle Tannehill, a Chicago police spokeswoman, said no suspect is in custody yet.