You may recognize Takashi Murakami’s art — Or is it? — from Kanye West’s album cover, or his trademark appropriation of high-end retail fashion brands like Louis Vuitton into cartoonish colors, or his massively hyped and extensively covered exhibitions at museums in New York and LA. Well, now you will recognize him in an entirely different way: from his floats at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, which will be awesome, widely misunderstood, and possibly (hopefully?) generally terrifying to small tourist children.
Murakami’s characters — which often resemble unnervingly over-emotive Pokemon on tremendous amounts of mescaline — are being transformed into Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade floats. Do you really think tourist children are going to be excited to see things like these…
….scaled by a thousand and inflated above their heads? Apparently, someone thought so. Via Animal New York, the New York Times ArtsBeat blogger Dave Itzkoff seems to have broken the news last week that yes, this is totally happening:
Asked in a telephone interview if Mr. Murakami’s characters might be a tad unsettling for younger parade viewers, Robin Hall, the parade’s executive producer said: “Fangs are very hot right now, if you’ve missed this trend. This is an excellent year for Murakami. And these balloons are adorable. They have a charm to them.”
Just like there’s a certain “charm” to nine year-olds with PTSD. For the record, these guys….
…are the ones getting the balloon treatment. But as pointed out by the Times, this isn’t the first time contemporary artists have had their work make the parade: Tom Otterness had this terror — an “upside-down Humpty Dumpty” — in 2005, Jeff Koons had one of his big silvery inflatable rabbits in 2006, and Keith Haring had one in 2008. Still: Can you imagine the terrible chaos that would ensue if Murakami’s floats decided to pull a Cat In The Hat ’97 and go rogue, spreading destruction so wide that they send people into comas?
This could be a disaster waiting to happen. An awesome, terrible, traumatic disaster.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 7, 2010