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Follow that Big Bird—up to the Met roof

Follow that Big Bird—up to the Met roof


Follow that Big Bird—up to the Met roof

A blue dyed Big Bird in the 1985 film Follow That Bird

Sesame Street is temporarily relocating to Fifth Avenue this month. The contemporary artist Alex Da Corte is installing a giant sculpture of Big Bird, the beloved Muppet star of the children’s television show, for his Roof Garden Commission at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (16 April-31 October). “Right now Big Bird is coming across the country in this box, and it’s killing me because it’s so poetic,” Da Corte told The New York Times, explaining that the piece is being shipped from a fabricator in California. When he flies up to the Met roof, he might look a little different than he did to audiences who grew up watching the PBS programme that so many remember. Perched on a crescent moon, à la Donna Summer on the cover of her album Four Seasons of Love, Big Bird will notably be a blue hue instead of his usual canary yellow. The colour choice is a nod to the Brazilian version of the character, named Garibaldo, which Da Corte watched in his youth in Venezuela (another avian cousin, Pino, from the Netherlands, is also blue). It also recalls a memorable scene in the 1985 movie Follow That Bird, in which a runaway Big Bird is captured by a circus, caged, dyed and forced to perform as the heartbreaking Bluebird of Happiness. Da Corte’s tribute however will be free to take in the New York skyline, a ladder held in his hand hinting at possible routes of escape. “We wanted Big Bird to have agency. Will Big Bird stay or go?” Da Corte said, adding: “There’s something beautiful about wondering what Big Bird is looking for. Maybe the sunset.”

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