Tag: Art

Giant Rubber Duck News: Power to the People

In May, we told you about a public art event very close to our hearts here at the BRI: Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s unveiling of a 54-foot-tall giant rubber duck in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor. It looks just like the rubber ducky seen on the covers of all of our books…only much, much bigger. On June 4, 2013, the duck made news in China—and around the world—again.

June 4th is the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. In 1989, thousands of protestors occupied Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, protesting China’s Communist government. The government responded by sending in 300,000 troops to quell the protests. Six thousand protestors were killed. The tragedy spawned a lasting, powerful image: a single, Chinese man, standing in front of a row of tanks.

In China, publicly commemorating the massacre (officially known as “The June 4th Incident”) is forbidden, so many people protest online. But criticizing the government online is also illegal in China. So what do protesters do? This year they made pictures.

Giant Rubber Duck ChinaOne person recreated the famous photo (the original of which is illegal to distribute in China) entirely with Lego blocks. Another person doctored the photo and replaced the tanks with images of the Giant Floating Duck.

Once the Internet-regulating authorities figured out what was going on, the Giant Floating Duck-as-tank photo was banned. Nevertheless, the duck is now a symbol of quiet protest in China.

The real duck, fully inflated, is scheduled to arrive in Pittsburgh in September.

3 Real-Life Statues Commemorating Fictional Characters

Robocop. Detroit has had some hard times lately, but there’s one bright spot on the horizon: construction and placement are nearly completed for a statue of Robocop. The original 1987 film, Robocop, was about the half-man, half-robot, all-violent policeman saving a futuristic, crime-destroyed version of the city. The kooky project was dreamt up by a group called Imagination Station Detroit. In 2011, they raised $57,000 via Kickstarter to make the 10 foot-tall statue honoring a favorite son a reality.

Optimus Prime. A 32-foot tall, 21-ton statue of the leader of the Transformers stands proudly in a square in Shenyang City, China. And, like how Transformers are vehicles that can rapidly transform into giant robots, “transforming” parts from 21 abandoned cars and trucks created this Optimus Prime statue. It’s the biggest Optimus Prime model on Earth…which means it’s not the only one. There’s another Optimus Prime statue in Beijing.

Rocky and Bullwinkle. And now here’s something we hope you’ll really like: This 15-foot tall fiberglass statue of the cartoon “moose and squirrel” was constructed in 1961 to promote the premiere of The Bullwinkle Show on NBC. Actress Jayne Mansfield presided over the unveiling, which took place along the Sunset Strip in LA and drew 5,000 spectators. The statue can be found at 8218 Sunset Boulevard in front of Hollywood Hounds, a grooming salon for pets.