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My husband and I never travel with an itinerary and literally stumbled into
the exhibition. Can you imagine our surprise at finding 815 life-size cows
in three different poses scattered throughout the city? We were greeted by
cows in the train station dressed as business people, cows "walking" up
vertical walls of a restaurant, a cow dressed in a Harley-Davidson jacket, a
chocolate cake cow, a washing machine cow, a Napolean cow, and on and on.
Each cow was appropriately painted and decorated to represent, in most
instances, the business that had sponsored it. Most of the cows were painted
by professional artists, but others were painted by school groups or local
clubs and organizations. Some of the cows were painted in the style of
famous artists. The best cows in Zurich (in my opinion) were sponsored by
the zoo. It was a group of cows painted to be tigers and zebras. These cows
were so carefully crafted that the viewer had to look carefully to fully
comprehend that the tigers and zebras were really cow forms. It was a
terrific juxtaposition of form and surface detail.
The mayor of Zurich and the Zurich City Association (a 1500 member business
association) put this exhibition together with great fanfare including an
opening day parade of all the cows. The parade was called an Alpine
Procession and the city virtually shut down for a full day as the cows were
installed on the sidewalks and in parks.
What a great model for collaboration between businesses, the arts, and
schools. A book was published about the exhibition. Every page is filled
with color photographs that document how the cows were made and installed.
Brief articles about each artist are included. I bought my copy in Zurich,
but it has an ISBN number, so you should be able to locate a copy if you have
The Cow Parade: Zurich's Lighter Side
Neptun Verlag AG, publisher
Text by Walter Baumann
Regards from Texas,