Popular Yoshitomo Nara Snow Globes Are Pulled From MoMA Shelves Over Safety Concerns

The museum says the objects “can crack or fracture, posing a laceration hazard.”

Yoshitomo Nara "Little Wanderer" Snow Globe. Photo courtesy of MoMA Design Store.

Earlier this month, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) recalled a series of “Little Wanderer” snow globes designed by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara from its Design Stores because they “can crack or fracture, posing a laceration hazard.”

According to an updated recall notice published on the MoMA Design Stores website, the museum has received 39 reports of snow globes “cracking or fracturing,” but added that “no injuries have been reported.” The notice urges consumers to “immediately stop using and discard the recalled snow globes.”

The snow globes were manufactured in China and imported by Design Ideas Ltd, a wholesale distributor of furnishings, housewares, and accessories based in Springfield, Illinois.

MoMA said it is contacting all known buyers and offering them a refund—a daunting task considering its gift shop has sold around 1,915 snow globes. The popular holiday gift had been on sale in physical and online stores since November last year, starting at $85 per piece before moving up to $255.

The snow globes are no longer available on the MoMA Design Stores website, and have also been pulled from secondary sales platforms such as 1stDibs and Artsy. They are still available on other online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, where they are listed for as much as $900, though many of the listings have already been removed.

The 4.5-by-3.3-inch snow globes with a wooden base contain little figurines of a small, sleep-walking child wearing yellow, blue, or red pajamas. The character is a familiar icon in Nara’s oeuvre, first appearing in a sculpture series from 1999 titled “Little Pilgrims (Night Walking).”

Nara, born in Hirosaki, Japan in 1959, has exhibited in over 40 countries, gracing galleries in Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. He is known for kawaii-inspired images of children, which borrow from manga, anime, and traditional American animation, painted with an unnerving, at times sinister undertone. Over the decades, Nara’s works have charmed audiences, commanded millions at auction, and featured in a wide array of merchandise.

Although the “Little Wanderer” snow globes are no longer available at the MoMA Design Stores, the museum offers other merchandise featuring Nara’s designs, including posters, temporary tattoo templates, and skateboard triptychs.

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