5 Artworks We’d Like To See in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

A giant soup can, anyone?

Paul McCarthy, Balloon Dog. Photo: My Modern Met.
Jeff Koons at the 2007 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Jeff Koons at the 2007 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Photo: Courtesy of Flickr.

When you think of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, contemporary art probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. That honor is likely reserved for Peanuts characters, Pikachu, and giants turkeys—but some artists have managed to find crossover success at the parade, including Jeff Koons in 2007, Takashi Murakami in 2010, and KAWS in 2012.

This got us to thinking: what other inflatable artworks would we like to see happily drifting over the streets of New York City?

Paul McCarthy, Balloon Dog. Photo: My Modern Met.

Paul McCarthy, Balloon Dog.
Photo: Courtesy of My Modern Met.

1. Paul McCarthy, Balloon Dog:
Jeff Koons has already had his turn in the Thanksgiving day spotlight, but McCarthy’s riff on his iconic balloon dog sculptures (as seen at Frieze 2013) is hilarious, and would require very little adaptation to make them parade-ready.

Louise Bourgeois, Spider (1996), bronze. Photo via Christie's.

Louise Bourgeois, Spider (1996), bronze.
Photo Courtesy of Christie’s.

2. Louise Bourgeois, Spider:
Louise Bourgeois’s Spider broke the record for a sculpture by a female artist this year, and what better way to celebrate than by turning the spindly critter into a parade float? It might be difficult to fill those little legs with air, and it might put NYC’s arachnophobe population on high alert, but it would be a delightful spectacle for those of us not ready to accept that Halloween is over already.

Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup II (1969). Photo: Andy Warhol Foundation.

Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup II (1969).
Photo: Courtesy of the Andy Warhol Foundation.

3. Andy Warhol, Campbell’s soup cans:
How is it possible that Andy Warhol has never had a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? The seminal Pop artist seems a perfect fit for the as-American-as-apple-pie television event. We’d love to see one of his signature soup cans—which have recently bedecked things like Converse sneakers and limited-edition skate decks—floating down 6th Avenue.

Robert Indiana, Love. Photo: Wikipedia.

Robert Indiana, Love.
Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia.

4. Robert Indiana, Love:
Robert Indiana’s Love sculptures are another iconic series that has been displayed around the world and holds a definite mass-market appeal. Those four simple letters have been transformed into postage stamps, Christmas cards for the Museum of Modern Art, an album cover, and a welcome symbol for the Pope’s recent visit to Philadelphia. The logical next step is their inclusion in a parade.

Donald Judd, Galvanized Iron 17 January 1973, 1973

Donald Judd, Galvanized Iron 17 January 1973 (1973).
Image: Courtesy of the Jonald Judd Foundation.

5. Donald Judd cubes:
Okay, so they’re a little minimalist compared to the typical float, but Donald Judd’s signature cubes probably describe the definition many Americans have of what “contemporary art” looks like.

Paul McCarthy, Tree (2014). Via: @HauserWirth on Twitter

Paul McCarthy, Tree (2014).
Photo: Courtesy of @HauserWirth on Twitter.

Bonus: Paul McCarthy, Tree:
We’re kidding. Despite its buoyant design, this would be just about the least family-friendly parade balloon ever thanks to the “butt plug”-like appearance that got it vandalized multiple times in Europe, and removed from FIAC‘s public art program last year.


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