Public Art In The Daley Village

Can a Mickey Mouse stop being a Mickey Mouse and start being public art? This is the basic question that has recurred for me over the last few years of City of Chicago sponsored fiberglass public sculpture projects beginning in 1999 with ‘cows on parade’, when 322 ‘artist decorated’ life size cows were scattered throughout tourist centered areas of the city. The ‘CowParade’ brand of public art has spread to over 30 cities all over the world, spreading the gospel of ‘fun’ and ‘accessible’ public art. Pascal Knapp originally produced the blank cow template, and the Cowparade Holdings Corporation (the group who founded and manages the projects) is involved in collaborating with various local governments to solicit artists to decorate the cows. Corporations are invited to sponsor a cow, which means one of two things:
(1) The company pays for the artist to produce original decoration for the cow
(2) The company pays for the artist to decorate the cow with a design of their choosing.