According to CNN, Berlin-based American artist Brad Downey presented the metal statue Tuesday near the first lady's hometown of Sevnica. Downey told the outlet he decided to replace the first statue—created by local chainsaw artisan Ales Zupevc, a.k.a. Maxi—because local residents had been very supportive of the sculpture.
"I didn't think it was a good ending for the artwork," he explained. "I didn't think it was a good ending for the community."
Downey said the ongoing protests against racial injustice was also a factor in his decision to replace the statue with a version that was less vulnerable to vandalism.
"With the Black Lives Matter protests, there's been a tendency to rip down monuments," he told the New York Times. "So I wanted to install a permanent one."
With exception to the blue dress featured in the original version, the life-sized statues have a very similar aesthetic. Though many have called the blocky works "abstract," others have referred to it as "shoddy" and a "disgrace." The polarizing work has even led some to wonder whether the piece was serious or intended as a joke. But it seems a large number of Twitter users are convinced it's the latter.
You can read some of the amusing reaction's to Trump's bronze statue below.
The new Melania statue is perfect. pic.twitter.com/UMvRRAkhvL— Schooley (@Rschooley) September 18, 2020
UPDATE: unfortunately the Melania statue unveiled yesterday has already been destroyed.— Bill Corbett (@BillCorbett) September 19, 2020
On the bright side: artists have worked through the night and already produced a brand-new one!! pic.twitter.com/H4WBumuasg