Mickey 90: The True Original Exhibit Is A Must See

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Mickey is 90 y’all!

This past Thursday an exhibit opened in honor of the iconic mouse’s start and long lasting legacy. Over 20 artists are featured in the 16K square foot exhibit dedicated to the Disney mascot and his equal Mini. The exhibit curated by artist Darren Romanelli, celebrates 90 years of Mickey Mouse’s influence on art and pop culture. In true Disney fashion, this isn’t just a gallery to walk and admire paintings on a wall, it is an experience. You walk up to the yellow door, pull the Mickey ear door handle and you are in a wide black room where a screen fills the full wall in front of you.

My immediate reaction (knowing Disney World) was at first “Are we getting on a ride or nah!?” The host welcomes you and lets you in on the details of the exhibit and the rules walking through. You learn it is an interactive experience to immerse you in the history and future of Disney’s Mickey Mouse. You then watch a short animated music video of sorts set to beats by James Fauntleroy all made from Mickey Mouse samples. This sound designers work is displayed in various rooms throughout the exhibit. I’ll be honest the beats are pretty dope.

You are then taken through a neon exhibit of Mickey by Jeff Kelly right beside the famous boat from the first ever Disney cartoon. Get this, you can get in the boat! You can turn the helm, and whistle along too.

Most of the exhibits in the first section honor that first black and white cartoon from a mash up of different artists reanimating the scene in Mickey Redux to metal comic book style prints on the wall made to look like paper and concrete sculptures that build a scene depending on where you stand.

I won’t tell you each room because then why would you take the time to go see it for yourself. I will give you some highlights that I found just delightful.

Contrary to what you may think, this is not meant to be solely a kid’s exhibit. Yes, there are definitely rooms in which kids would have a blast, the fantasia room, an actual full rendition of the Mickey Mouse Club where ice cream is served, but many of the rooms are actual exhibitions and installations of visual art you would see in the MoMA.

Exhibits such as Supersonic Skein by London Kaye, an installation of yarn created in a mosaic of music notes and Mickey Mouse. Get this, the artists crocheted this work blindfolded… What! The staff explained the artist wanted to challenge herself so she said why not blindfolded, that is some MoMA ish. They also have a tower of Mickey and Mini Mouse stuffed animals well over my height (I’m 5’4”) by artist Brooklyn based artist Shinique Smith.

The hall of color is one of my favorite sections as it tells the history of Mickey’s transformation into color. The coloring process was handled by a slew of women! This hall is dedicated to them, I was excited to learn about this history.

The Fantasia room is great fun. I won’t go into intricate detail, but you are able to take pictures with the hat and other interactive elements from the famous film.

You roam at your leisure and stay in one place as long as you like, you can spend anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half in the full exhibit, not counting the time you will spend in the gift shop. The gift shop has all the Mickey things you never knew you might want. They have the classic Mickey ears, and yes you can get them embroidered. They have anywhere from notebooks, colorful Mickey Pops to Marc Jacobs Mickey sweatshirts and fur coats. But the exhibit isn’t over make sure you go into the Cosmic Cavern by, Kenny Scharf for a glowing explosion, the most abstract Mickey ode in the exhibit, you just won’t believe the floor to ceiling black light experience you’ll have.

The best part was the original sketch of Mickey drawn by Walt Disney himself. You can see the several sketches and which one he settled on circled in the middle resembling the final image of the Mickey Mouse we all know and love.

Mickey: The True Original Exhibition celebrates 90 years of Mickey Mouse’s influence on art and pop culture. Opening in November 2018, this immersive experience is inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his consistent impact on the arts and creativity in all its forms. Guests will have the chance to explore the 16,000 square-foot exhibition featuring both historic and contemporary work from renowned artists.

The exhibit is in the Chelsea area of NYC, right across the street from the 10th ave entrance of the Chelsea Market.

Dates: November 8, 2018 – February 10, 2019
Location: 60 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10014
Tickets can be purchased here.

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  • Aisha Jordan bio: Actor, Writer, Arts Administrator. I am a movie nerd. Born and raised, action and adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, cartoon enthusiast, and aficionado. Raised by a Trekkie mom in a world of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings. Foundation in social justice theater and playing in the nerd and entertainment world.

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