Polar bears, polar bears. Those ubiquitous symbols of climate change. Cute and cuddly, ethereal and majestic, they’re popping up everywhere – including atop subway grates on the streets of New York City. Artist Joshua Allen Harris has created quite an online buzz with his puppy-like inflatable plastic bag polar bear: it inflates and deflates with the passing of subterranean subway trains, springing to life and then fading away in a vital commentary on global warming. We’ve covered inspired plastic bag art in the past, but never with such an animated aesthetic.
What starts as a lump of plastic slowly inflates into a giddy, shivering, gleeful mini polar bear – which then deflates back into a lump when the air runs out. Several different sites have commented upon how sad it is to watch it die over and over again. The parallels to the issues of climate change are as striking as a sledgehammer as one watches the figure of a polar bear melting out of its element.
This was Harris’ first inflatable subway sculpture. He’s since become well-known for creating a variety of subway characters, including mythical and mysterious creatures that are several grates long. Below is a piece on the artist by New York Magazine. Harris has also created a Loch-Ness monster, a centaurian figure and a crowd of giggly shapes, each exhibiting a rapid transformation of a discarded lump into an entrancing figure.
+ New York Magazine
Via Treehugger and FYI mag
Would you mind if I used this idea for one of my classes? I just started teaching 3D desing at Arizona State University. These are just awesome. Would totally love some information on building and designing these for a show here at ASU.
oh my gawd- I LOVE this. I love art that goes beyond concept and ties in all sorts of current issues. This is better then most stuff in galleries now- really! How awesome to have it wear it will blow up and then deflate over and over.... i have to share this with all my artists friends ;)
It even looks like the bear is wagging it's tale! So cute and very creative!