'That's art?' Baby turns heads in Manhattan auction house window

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A sculpture of a baby sleeping in an unusual New York City exhibit has Park Avenue window-shoppers alerting auction house staff that a child has been “forgotten in the display.”

Sculpted after artist Duane Hanson’s son, the lifelike artwork, titled “Baby in a Carriage, 1983,” is valued at about $80,000 to $120,000, according to director of American art at Heritage Auctions in Manhattan.

“It’s the greatest. If you could watch our footage of this baby in the window, it would crack you up because truly all day, people, women, children, mothers, grandfathers, cops will stop and look at it and wonder truly for a second, or more than a second, is that really a baby?”, Director of American art at Heritage Auctions, Aviva Lehmann, told Reuters, adding that this “is exactly what Hanson wanted you to think.”

The polyvinyl piece of a sleeping toddler wearing a lightlue sweatshirt and matching sweatpants, is topped off with a head of blonde human hair, furthering its authenticity.

“That’s art?” a stunned Rachel Leeds said with a laugh. “I thought that was a real baby.”

The baby’s shirt carries the bible verse, ”He that is without sin among you, let him first cast the first stone,” from the Gospel of John 8:7.

Artist Duane Hanson’s sculpture titled “Baby in a Carriage, 1983,” valued at about $80,000 to $120,000, is seen in the Park Avenue window of Heritage Auctions in New York City, New York, U.S., November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Hanson, a Minnesota native, is often depicted as a “hyper realist” artist.

“He’s been grouped with the pop artists, but he’s just all about capturing middle America, whether it’s a cop or a security guard or a tourist sitting on a bench in the sun,” Lehmann said.

Artist Duane Hanson’s sculpture titled “Baby in a Carriage, 1983,” valued at about $80,000 to $120,000, is seen in the Park Avenue window of Heritage Auctions in New York City, New York, U.S., November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

As the afternoon wound down, the scuplture continued to confuse midtown Manhattan.

“I passed by it a few minutes ago on my way to a store and then on my way back I took a better look at it,” said onlooker Sarah Conforti as she snapped a photo of the sculpture. “The baby doesn’t look very happy.”

Passerby Rahmel Dantzler expressed having a similar reaction to the sculpture.

“Kinda creepy,” Dantzler said. “I’d run.”

“Baby in Carriage” will hit the auction block on Nov. 30.

Reporting by Roselle Chen; Writing by Jenna Zucker

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