The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a holiday tradition for most, whether it involves braving the crowds and cold to watch it up close or at home on the couch with a play-by-play by Matt Lauer. Besides the live entertainment and plethora of marching bands, the large scale helium balloons are my favorites. Who wouldn't get excited at the site of a 50 foot helium Snoopy?
In 2005, Macy's introduced the Blue Sky Gallery series in the Thanksgiving Day Parade, when they invited artist Tom Otterness to create a balloon version of one of his classic peices of Humpty Dumpty. This was a strong effort by Macy's to inject contemporary art into a pop culture phenomena. Jeff Koons followed up in 2007 with "Rabbit.) The parade is paying tribute to beloved art Keith Haring, who would have turned 50 this year by featuring one of his ink on paper drawings, Untitled (Figure with a Heart, 1987). During his career Haring devoted much of his time to works that carried social messages and often dreamed of having one of his works turned into a balloon. In 1988, Haring was diagnosed with AIDS and went on to work with his self-titled Foundation to support AIDS & HIV research until his death in 1990.
The 48 foot tall, three-dimensional balloon of his work sends a message at a very relevant time of year. I can't wait to see it on the big screen Thursday morning.