See Art Historical Masterpieces Recreated With 40-Thousand Balloons

The team calls their craft "the fine art of folding air."

Airigami, after Grant Wood's American Gothic. Photo: courtesy Airigami.
Airigami, after Grant Wood's American Gothic. Photo: courtesy Airigami.
Airigami, after Sandro Botticelli's <em>The Birth of Venus</em>. Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.
Photo: courtesy Airigami.

New York city may have had a gallery full of bright red balloons from Martin Creed, but that spectacle promises to pale in comparison to the 50-foot, five-story-tall sculpture made from no less than 40,000 balloons being erected in Rochester, New York. The project is the work of Airigami, a team of balloon artists helmed by artistic director and founder Larry Moss and his wife and partner Kelly Cheatle.

The duo, which claims to specialize in “the fine art of folding air,” creates everything from mammoth installations to small-scale inflatable sculptures. artnet News is particularly enamored with their quirky, cheerful versions of masterpieces from art history.

Airigami, after Johannes Vermeer's <em>Girl with a Pearl Earring</em>. Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Photo: courtesy Airigami.

We’ve already seen art by the likes of Andy Warhol and Leonardo da Vinci recreated in everything from Christmas cookies and Thanksgiving dinner to Toblerone chocolate, so why not balloons?

Construction on the installation, which is free to the public and opens January 29, will begin January 25. Airigami has enlisted a crew of dozens of artists and volunteers, some hailing from as far away as the Netherlands, to complete the massive undertaking.

Airigami, after Paul Cézanne's <em>Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier</em>. Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Paul Cézanne’s Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier.
Photo: courtesy Airigami.

While the duo certainly delights with their inflated reinterpretations of iconic works of art—something about the Mona Lisa‘s mysterious smile always made us think she was full of hot air—this year’s installation will take inspiration from the nearby Genesee River.

“We are incredibly excited to recreate nature with balloons—the river, waterfalls, animals, plants—inside, in the middle of winter,” said Moss in a statement about the piece, which is titled Airigami Balloon Adventure: Journey on the Genesee.

If the idea of 40,000 balloons isn’t enough fun for you, know that each annual exhibition ends with a “traditional popping party,” where visitors can help out with the deflation. And, in the spirit of the sculpture’s environmentally-minded subject matter, the balloons will be composted afterward.

See more of Airigami’s balloon art recreations below:

Airigami, after Andy Warhol's <em>Campbell's Soup Cans</em>. Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans.
Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Whistler's Mother. Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Whistler’s Mother.
Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Leonardo da Vinci's <em>Mona Lisa</em>.

Airigami, after Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Grant Wood's <em>American Gothic</em>. Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Grant Wood’s American Gothic.
Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after M.C. Escher's <em>Hand with Reflecting Sphere</em>. Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after M.C. Escher’s Hand with Reflecting Sphere.
Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Frida Kahlo's <em>Self Portrait: The Frame</em>. Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait: The Frame.
Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Leonardo da Vinci's <em>Vitruvian Man</em>. Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami, after Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
Photo: courtesy Airigami.

Airigami Balloon Adventure: Journey on the Genesee will be on view in the Sibley Building atrium, 250 E. Main St., Rochester, New York from January 29–February 7, 9:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m. 


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