They Put a 65-Foot Hot Dog in Times Square, and It’s a Blast

As the sun set on a cloudy evening in Times Square on Friday, a 65-foot-long frankfurter cantilevered into the sky and spewed out a blast of rainbow confetti.

At the foot (tail?) of its bun, drag wrestlers were finishing their match in an elevated boxing ring, practically twerking on the ropes, cheered on by hundreds of spectators. It was the first public event for “Hot Dog in the City,” an installation for Times Square Arts, the largest work that the organization has ever commissioned.

The giant wiener was created by Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw, married Brooklyn artists whose métier is often interactive, food-based spectaculars that also question the lore — and lure — of Americana. When they hit upon the hot dog, a national symbol of patriotism and also an emblem of the hard-to-digest truth about mass production and labor, consumerism and marketing, it seemed like a natural match for the setting.

The artists Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw. Credit…Lanna Apisukh for The New York Times

The hot dog, Outlaw said, “is celebratory. But it does have a sordid history and a complicated past.” With events including WrestleMania-style matches — another tangled bit of American culture, equal parts bravado and fakery — and a video series about food carts, in affiliation with the Street Vendor Project, the artists hope to capture that larger story. An opera they wrote is planned for the intimate space inside the hot dog.

There’s also an eating competition sponsored by Nathan’s, and a hot dog — as in canine — pageant. Since they met as M.F.A. students at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, Outlaw, 44, and Catron, 39, who is nine months pregnant with their second child, have prioritized fun.

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