7 Artist-Designed Balloons That Have Taken to the Avenue (and Sky) on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - Upsmag - Magazine News

7 Artist-Designed Balloons That Have Taken to the Avenue (and Sky) on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

On the inaugural Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, animals, relatively than balloons, had been the star attraction. Because the occasion matured, the inflatables it floated into the Manhattan sky got here to symbolize the good and good of up to date American tradition: Snoopy, Ronald McDonald, SpongeBob SquarePants, Smokey Bear, to call however a handful.

Starting in 2005, the parade organizers started tapping up to date artists to create balloons via its Blue Sky Gallery. Simply because the occasion heralds a altering of seasons and the arrival of Christmas festivities, so too a Macy’s fee will be seen as affirming an artist’s standing among the many world’s hottest and business creatives.

Listed below are a number of the artist-designed balloons to have flown the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.


Tom Otterness, Humpty Dumpty, 2005 and 2006

Photograph by Stephen Chernin/Getty Photos

The American sculptor was no stranger to large-scale installations, having positioned his playful bronzes in public areas because the late ’70s. His balloon, which depicted the English nursery rhyme character flying relatively than falling, arrived within the wake of “Otterness on Broadway” his largest-ever exhibition that stationed 25 works on the Higher West Facet. Otterness had one of many king’s males accompany Humpty within the type of a life-sized puppet. “I grew up in Kansas the place the Macy’s Day Parade was the most important factor,” Otterness stated. “I like the concept that is in folks’s dwelling rooms.” The balloon has since been retired, following the surfacing of an “indefensible act” of animal cruelty within the artist’s previous.


Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 2007

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Photograph by Hiroko Masuike/Getty Photos

This time, the balloon was really stuffed with helium. A decade on from dropping his mirror-polished, stainless-steel animal sculptures on the artwork world, Koons created a balloon that might fly. It was crafted out of a reflective nylon and measured 53-by-26 toes. “Because it strikes via the atmosphere, it takes on its environment—the blue of the sky, the inexperienced grass, the gang,” Koons stated of the work. “It’s at all times altering.” The balloon would later be flown to London for a Pop Artwork exhibition on the Tate.


Keith Haring, Determine with a Coronary heart, 2008

Supposedly, the New York avenue artist at all times dreamed of watching a balloon in his aesthetic styling soar via town sky. Eighteen years on from his dying, this want got here true on what would have been his fiftieth birthday. It later fronted the primary entrance to Central Park’s AIDS Stroll in 2014. The balloon can be remembered for crashing into NBC’s onsite sales space and taking its broadcast briefly off air.


Takashi Murakami, Kaikai and Kiki, 2010

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Photograph by Ben Hider/Getty Photos

Ever the eager self-promoter, up to date pop artist Murakami personally pitched the concept of floating balloons with the parade organizers. He selected to create 40-foot variations of his characters Kaikai and Kiki, a pair he described as “cute but fearsome, trendy but related to the previous.” After tinkering with the proportion of their head and limbs to make sure they may fly correctly, Murakami joined his balloons by strolling the parade in a fluffy inexperienced onesie topped with a signature flower for headgear.


KAWS, Companion, 2012

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Photograph by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

In distinction to the beaming smiles of Mickey Mouse and Pikachu, Brian Donnelly—aka KAWS—introduced a forlorn, hand-covered face to proceedings. Companion, a determine the ex-Disney illustrator has repeatedly recreated over the previous two-and-a-half a long time, has popped up in Hong Kong’s Harbor, Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing, on the Millennium Bridge in London. Final 12 months, KAWS took the concept of his Macy’s balloon a step additional with KAWS: Vacation, a sizzling air balloon model of the work which invited passengers on board.


FriendsWithYou, The Little Cloud, 2018

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Photograph by Gary Hershorn/Getty Photos

In 2006, Los Angeles artwork collective FriendsWithYou staged its very personal procession of balloons at Artwork Basel Miami Seaside with Skywalker, a group of 18 large blimps that required the palms of 300 highschool volunteers. Twelve years on, they introduced their signature cloud to New York, an ideal match for a spectacle all about household enjoyable. Because the occasion’s government producer Susan Tercero stated, “Their cloud is cute and eccentric. What higher balloon to create than a cloud?”


Yayoi Kusama, Love Flies As much as the Sky, 2019 and 2020

To rejoice her ninetieth birthday, the Japanese artist unveiled a balloon that mixed her most distinctive parts: a weird face, tentacles, and, in fact, polka dots. She was each the primary feminine artist and the oldest to obtain a fee. The octopus-sun-clown creation riffed off motifs the artist developed in her My Everlasting Soul portray sequence. The balloon had an inauspicious debut when, throughout parade preparations, robust winds ended up puncturing the face and ripping open one in all its tentacles. It flew drama-free in 2020.

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