Are What Moo Eat in Post Office Square Park
and ready to mooooove!
requisite Michelangelo pose
wants to get down
arrives neatly wrapped
Turner and I sit down to chat about "Moo Are What
of all, for those who don’t know,
what is the Cow Parade?
KB: The Cow Parade is the largest public art
event in the world. Each
year a few cities around the world host the parade. Local artists
are invited to submit designs, and those who are chosen receive
a life-size fiberglass cow statue to decorate. The finished cows
are placed in various places around the city for the public to
enjoy. At the end, the cows are auctioned off for charity.
cow parade was organized in Zurich as a public art project designed
to promote retail and the arts around downtown Zurich.
The original cow statues were created by Swiss artist Pascal Knapp.
Cows are a fixture in the Swiss countryside so it made sense to
choose the cow as a way to promote Swiss culture. However, the
success of the event and the universal popularity it has engendered
as the parade came to cities all over the world is largely due
to the deep connection that people around the world have to the
AT: How did you get involved in the Cow Parade?
read a posting on craigslist.com asking for design submissions.
I had seen pictures of the cows on parade in other cities and
have thought that it would be great fun to decorate a cow. I
my design and crossed my fingers. A few months later, after the
notification deadline has well passed, and all hope of being
selected faded, I received a message from the Jimmy Fund, the
of the Boston parade, that I’d been selected.
AT: What kind
of design did you submit?
cow is decorated with a meadow design, showing the traditional
bovine diet. I intentionally used different
types of grasses, clover, buttercups, and dandelions to show
the various plants that go into making a cow.
Nowadays few cows enjoy this type of diet–most of them are
fattened on corn and are even forced into cannibalism. This new
sit well with their complex digestive system and they often get
sick which requires farmers to give them copious amounts of antibiotics
and other drugs. Those in turn enter our own food chain as we guzzle
up our hamburgers and steaks. Chewing on a dandelion, my cow harkens
back to a simpler time, bringing a piece of the countryside to
urban environment of Boston.
AT: Describe your attitude towards the
cow (as a work of art itself, as a canvas for your own work, as
a great hulking object that has
taken over your dining room).
KB: The cow sculpture itself is very beautiful.
It masterfully combines a realistic depiction of the animal with
an abstraction of its
bovine traits creating a platonic model. The gentle curves of the
sculpture make it an exciting surface to paint. When I paint a
line I can never predict where it will end up due to the undulations
of the surface. I usually pat the cow on its flank before I start
painting, the way I would a real cow. Needless to say, I never
do this when I paint on stretched canvas.
Having a cow in one’s dining room is a surreal experience.
When I come down the stairs in the morning, still groggy, I’m
always a little surprised to see it there. “Oh, a cow!” I
think. But the cow seems very comfortable in the house, and it
makes it feel very homey. It has become a member of the family.
I wonder, do you have a similar reaction to it?
a very similar reaction. I pat her on the flank, on the shoulder,
or on the nose.
I notice I am more gentle on the nose,
as if she were a real cow. Sometimes I stand there in the dining
room, with my arm draped around her. I sometimes hang from the
horns. I wouldn’t do that with a real cow. I noticed the
last Cow Parade was in your home town of Warszawa (Warsaw). Did
you get to see it?
I missed the cows in Warszawa. I only saw them online. However,
it has made it easy to explain
there what I’m working on. My grandparents even sent me
clippings from a newspaper showing the locations of the cows.
a shame. Atlanta had one in 2003 that I didn’t
get to see. Have you ever got to see a Cow Parade? There was
one while I was living in New York. I remember a number of yellow
cab cows, and some Cash Cows. There was one called Moola the
Cash Cow, colorfully papered with international currency, with
for the horns, hooves, and eyes. She was a real beauty.
vaguely remember the New York Cow Parade when I was living there.
seeing some cows on the street, but I don’t remember
any particular cow. I don’t think I was paying much attention
to public art back then. I’m afraid I was rather an art snob.
with the funny names?
on a cow for the parade gives artists the opportunity to be playful
and funny. I think
they also show the affection that
the artists have for the cows. When I was working on my cow design
submission, I noticed that a lot of cows had funny names, like
Claude Mooonet, 60 Moo-nites, etc. My cow was originally called “Meadow
Cow”. Then, you suggested that it should be “You are
what you eat” since it was addressing the issues of how we
feed cattle and the ramifications for them and the people who eat
them. So I decided on “Moo are What Moo Eat” to add
some more silliness. Now whenever someone asks me what my cow
is, I have to say the title, and I always crack up. I like how
humor in the name makes the message more immediate to the audience.
the article in The Boston Globe.
press release issued by Spaulding & Slye, my employer and
the sponsor of the cow.
Check back soon for more photos of the cow