The Walt Disney Company has installed a one-of-a-kind immersive attraction in New York City’s trendy Meatpacking district to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its iconic character, Mickey Mouse.
Situated below the High Line, a decorated glass building invites curious observers on a tour of more than 16,000 square feet of Mickey Mouse history. At Mickey: The True Original Exhibition, ten curated rooms chart Mickey's impact, from his beginnings as a sketch, through his initial appearance in "Steamboat Willie"- the first-ever animated short to feature synchronized music and sound-into his current phase as the muse for several modern art pieces and consumer products.
"Since 1928, Mickey has been a conduit between public art and everyday life, directly influencing a diverse lineage of contemporary artists who have created work that engages with his recognizable image," reads an exhibit wall.
Wide gallery-style rooms include renditions of the original Mickey Mouse sketch cast in neon lighting, graffitied walls, a recreation of the set of the "All New Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" (1989-1994) set (sans Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake) and a Mickey Mouse hat customization bar.
Most of the elements within the gallery were custom designed by Disney animators including the ice cream packaging seen at the Ample Hills Creamery stand and Steamboat Willie animations, that positions original studio drawings alongside the work of young animators.
"A lot of businesses are so trend-driven so as long as we are keeping the character and the story true to who that character is, we're allowed to play around graphically. For this project, we wanted to go back to the original short and do a 3-D project. We cut them into little scenes and assigned each scene to an animator, team of animators or designers and we synchronized their animation to the original soundtrack and asked them to be as graphically interpretive as they wanted. One of the neat things is that we're incorporating every style of animation. Its almost like a history of animation in one short where you have the drawn, CG, stop-motion, claymation and so much more," says John T. Quinn, director, character art, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media.
The best part? Visitors are invited to wander through each room as whim; to take pictures with art pieces that have been custom designed for the space; and to take in small doses of information that situates Mickey Mouse not only as a character but a reflection of the society he was born out of. As one plaque reads " Perhaps the reason why Mickey is so widely recognized is because he is a character who reflects humanity - with all of our triumphs and imperfections."
Featured rooms include:
- The Welcome Room, which acquaints fans with the character through video content.
- Hello Mickey, a place that consists of an oversized mural from Katherine Bernhardt as well as displays by Disney’s illustration team.
- Iconic Design, A room that houses Daniel Arsham’s "Hiding Mickey."
- It's Black and White, a black and white display spanning comic books and more.
- Ink & Paint, a room that lets travel from the black and white era into color.
- Burst into Color, a colorful space that celebrates Mickey’s first Technicolor appearance in “The Band Concert,” with work from London Kaye.
- Sorcerer’s Way, a magic-centric room that channels the imagery of the film Fantasia.
- Mickey Mouse Club, a recreated set form the TV variety show, “Mickey Mouse Club.”
- Original Muse, A space focused on the work of artists who have interpreted the character in a new way including Keith Haring among others.
- The Collection, a room that contains consumer products from the last 90 years and with an emphasis on the way Mickey Mouse has become a part of everyday life.
Consumer products featured in the exhibit include:
- The Mickey Mouse solo three headphones from Beats by Dre;
- The Mickey x Levi’s collaboration;
- The Opening Ceremony x Mickey line and more.
Mickey: The True Original Exhibition opens Nov. 8 at 60 10th Ave in New York, NY.