Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cow Art in Rio de Janeiro

Once again Rio de Janiero has been taken over by cows. No this is not a comment toward the growing prevalence of obesity in Brazil. There literally are cows all over the city.

Now I'm just as big of a fan of seeing this cow art as the rest of you. Who doesn't find fiberglass cow figures enjoyable, especially when decorated in way that is representational of your city? The thing that I find so curious is how this cow phenomenon started in the first place.

A little history: the concept of the "cow parade" started in Zürich, Switzerland by artistic director Walter Knapp. Of course Knapp used Lions instead of cows, making it more of a large pussy parade but potato potato.

Peter Hanig was the one to bring this art to the US. Maybe he was being backed by beef corporations or something but he went with the cow. Personally, I find it a better choice. The cow suits the US.

As for Brazil, I think they could have done something more Brazilian. What about large roosters? I see those little bastards all over the place. It had actually inspired me, at one point, to dream about buying a gun to shoot the gang of them that lived on the hill behind my apartment.

They could also have done the Mico Monkey (a small monkey extremely common in Rio de Janeiro). Obviously it lacks the impressive size of a cow but they could make up for it with clever placement. It could almost be a Where's Waldo of Rio but with fiberglass monkeys! Of course needing to search for them would negate the entire point of this project in the first place.

So cows it is.

I would, however, like to congratulate the artists. Good work there! The cows I have seen have been both impressive and entertaining. There is nothing my boys like more than to see a mythical creature  sitting in front of our neighborhood gas station. By the way, my children are cities boys. Their interaction with wildlife comes in the form of calling a cab.

On a side note: I am totally buying these special edition cowavaianas

So what do you think of the cow parade project?

Thanks to Jim for the post idea! 


  1. Seattle has pigs. They just have to be different, I guess.

  2. Austin, TX had big electric guitars. The kids and I loved stumbling across them and taking photos. I haven't seen the cows yet, but I think we have them in Houston too.

    I can't wait to see how many Google hits you get for "pussy parade" now.

  3. Your posted cow is in my work Metro station. All I could think as I examined it this afternoon from various angles was: So, THAT's where rib roast comes from, the RIBS! NY did this for years....years ago. But, it does make me grin seeing cows in Rio, for God's sake!

  4. So, is it a temporary installation? Thetao- I love those big guitars! Austin is so wonderful.

  5. I lived it two different cities that did this. One had Herons and the other had Geese. There are actually large populations of these birds in each city. I loved going to find them all. They where all so unique.

  6. I love how many different animals are being used elsewhere!

  7. Norfolk, VA has mermaids all over the city! They're cool and very distinctive.

  8. San Francisco had giant hearts. "I left my heart..."

  9. So many unique, and very appropriate, objects in other cities that I am beginning to wonder why the pigs.....

  10. I like the art part but not the cow part.
    Pussy parade Rach, nice one.