By Adrienne LaFrance
BOSTON, Mass.— We’ve seen it before: Hundreds of multi-colored cows descending on cities and towns across the globe. Since 1999, herds have made their way through Chicago, New York, London, Paris, Athens and towns– some of which have plenty of cows already– across Middle America. This summer, a new collection of vibrant bovines has taken on The Hub.
Grazing the Common, looking smart on Newbury Street and green as money in the Financial District, there are over 100 cows parading through Boston. They showcase the talents of a wide range of inspired artists (an open call for artists was conducted last fall), and they’re sponsored by those in the community who wish to contribute to the Jimmy Fund of the Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute.
While the concept isn’t new, it’s hard to resist the playful puns and special character that make these cows unique to Boston, not to mention the important cause they benefit. Auctions for the life-size cows in other cities have raised millions of dollars (the now-famous Tiffany cow, created by artist Adele Moros for the Chicago Cow Parade in 1999, went for $60,000).
Cows pay hommage to local favorite children’s tales, public transportation and, of course, baseball. Their fiberglass bodies are inspired by Swiss-born artist Pascal Knapp’s original three molds, used in the initial parades in Chicago (1999) and New York (2000).
Commissioned artists received their blank cows in November 2005, and had until April 15, 2006—deadline of all deadlines—to complete their work. Some artists like Rachel Von Roeschlaub of Cambridge, Mass., and Brazilian artist Oneil Junior of Boston tracked their progress throughout the project on web sites.
These humorous and impossible-to-ignore pieces of art will be roaming the city until Sept. 5, 2006. On Thursday, September 21, they’ll be herded to the Copley Marriott to be auctioned off.