Animation Art Nerd Nostalgia

Mickey: The True Original Exhibition is a Colorful Playground for Disnerds

The Nerds of Color got to visit the Mickey: The Original Exhibition in New York City. Here's what we thought.

Have you ever found yourself doodling Mickey ears on pieces of paper? Or find yourself looking for Mouse ears in places outside of a Disney theme park? Then you’re a #TrueOriginal Mickey fan and the Mickey: True Original Exhibition in New York City is for you. The exhibit is also for those who aren’t hip to the power of the Mouse. The exhibit walks visitors through the history of Mickey Mouse — from Steamboat Willie to the latest Mickey x Vans collection (I want those Fantasia hi-tops so badly!) — and his influence on art and popular culture.

How did Mickey get his start? How has he influenced pop culture? Head to the Meatpacking District in NY to find out. The Nerds of Color got to attend a preview of the exhibit and it was amazing. The exhibit is an interactive museum experience with lots of perfect photo ops. Take photos on a steamboat, next to black and white drawings of Mickey and Minnie, in a hallway full of paint jars representing the transition to color, and pretend you’re magicking a boom with Fantasia!Mickey.

The Exhibit was curated by Darren Romanelli and features both original Walt Disney drawings and artwork as well as artists who were inspired by Mickey like Keith Haring, Brian Bress, Brian Roettinger, and James Fauntleroy (whose remix of the Fantasia soundtrack was an aural highlight). Since it is based in New York, the exhibit features lots of local artists like London Kaye, Oliver Clegg, and Shinique Smith. There are about 10 rooms, including a 90s cafe style room with Mickey Mouse Club clips playing on the wall and Ample Hills Ice Cream samples. (I had a scoop of the Confetti Celebration and it was so good.)

Another room features international artists like Tetsuya Nomura (Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts), Javier Sanchez Medina, PEACEMINUS, and James Jean. and the influence Mickey has had around the globe.  

If you’re a counter for hidden Mickeys, you may never be able to find them all, especially if you enter the Cosmic Cavern, which is a trippy 90s color explosion of neon. One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was the gift store at the end (available to the public without a ticket), which features Mickey Beats by Dre, a Google Home Mount (which I immediately purchased), pins, sweaters, notebooks galore, and customizable Mickey Ears. I definitely need to go back to buy more stuff, because I’m a sucker for Mickey-themed merch.

The Mickey: The True Original Exhibition is a delight for the Disnerd and the casual fan looking to learn more about the world’s favorite mouse. The exhibit will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm until February 10, 2019, and is located at 60 10th Avenue in the Meatpacking District of New York. It’s a bit of a hike, but well worth the travels. Tickets are $38 and must be purchased in advance. Follow @MickeyTrueOriginal

Happy 90th, Mickey!

Check out constarphotography.com for more photos I took at the exhibit.

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