Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Something About Mary


Yes, we've heard the caveat, "Disneyland is not a museum", but in at least one instance attention to the Art of Disneyland must be paid. Disney artist, designer and color stylist Mary Blair (1911-1978) has so inspired several generations of animation artists with her legendary work in Disney Classic Animation and at the theme parks (Small World being most noteworthy) that to cover over or destroy her work in this day and age would be blasphemous. And yet in 1987 and 1997 Disney Imagineering did just that. Two of her largest and most exemplary tile murals covering the north and south sides of Disneylands classic 60's Tomorrowland were either chipped into oblivion when Star Tours opened or covered over with the opening of the 'New' Tomorrowland. Inarguably both are modernist masterpieces.


Certainly there's a solid argument suggesting the undamaged mural no longer fits with the style of the current area (as if anything tasteful and charming could) but incoming management should do everything they can to preserve and display what's left of Mary's amazing work of art, whether it's moving it to a neutral area in the park where it can be enjoyed on its own terms or finding contemporary artists willing to create companion works that harmonize well with her vision.

Because sometimes Disneyland SHOULD be a Museum.

13 comments:

Merlin Jones said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Merlin Jones said...

I believe the smaller, Circlevision/BuzzLightyear-side mural still exists under a carefully set overhang/facade, a steel structure that sits over the mural, nothing was driven through it, but built around and over it (though some tiles may have been lost here too, who knows? But lin theory, this one was preserved).

The larger, Adventure Thru Inner Space/Star Tours -side mural was chopped up - - new doors were cut into the mural (which took up the full wall) for Star Tours, and support beams for the new facade were driven right through sections of crushed tiles - - I saw this tragic sight myself before the new facade was added. Much of it is likely still under there, but much was lost and would need to be restored.

There is a crushed tile salute to the mural made of Mary's broken tiles from this side at Disneyland Paris (can't remember where).

Ghostbuster626 said...

Although I have a great amount of respect for Mary Blair im going to have to disagree about bringing back her murals in Tommorowland. The current Muruals (Star Tours on the right and Buzz/Space Mountain on the left) not only looks great but is also more relevant to Tommorowland. Perhaps Mary Blairs murual could be moved to another area of Disneyland?

Anonymous said...

I also have a great respect for Mary Blair's work, the mural never really fit into the Tomorrowland atmosphere. They would have looked wonderful near "it's a small world", and could have been incorporated into that area's parade route makeover a few years back.

V1213 said...

Blair's work may have inspired many artists and be very nostalgic and important to some, but is it really appropriate for "Tomorrowland" in 2006?
The murals don't look futuristic or modern in today's context and thus aren't the most suitable for the area.
If people feel they must be saved, why not move them to another part of the park or even preserve them somewhere out of the park, where they won't interfere with a modern Disneyland?
We can't keep everything that we loved in the parks at the sake of relevance to the theme in today's context.

Anonymous said...

Those murals are a huge part of any kids childhood assuming that they grew up in SoCal and visited Disneyland every year as I did. Why doesn’t Walt Disney’s daughter preserve them in the Walt Disney museum up north? I would say stick ‘em in a museum, but I don’t want a bunch of stuffy old adults snottily walking by. A children’s musem perhaps or how about displaying them in the Disney Concert theatre building in downtown LA. At any rate these magnificent works should be seen.

Anonymous said...

Well, why not add a museum to the park? People would love that! It's not like there isn't enough stuff in storage. The Marc Davis art for POTC that was shown a year or so ago at Disneyland went over well with everyone that stumbled across it (it wasn't really hyped at all).

A rotating series of attractions touring around to museums built in all of the Disney parks around the world would be a lot of bang for the buck spent, and it would placate the folks who think that we're losing too much of the folk art heart of the park to ugly 'progress'.

And tear down "Innoventions" or do something interesting there.

Linzybrooke said...

Blair's work inspired me to pursue art; it is tragic that her murals have been basically destroyed. While I agree that they seemed out of place there was no need for them to be ruined. Did it even occur to people to attempt to move them before deciding to just drill through and crush them?

This is what saddens me the most about the state of things. The utter disregard for the beauty of Imagineering past.

Pragmatic Idealist said...

In other forums, I've advocated displaying now-defunct parts of Disneyland in the public areas of the Disneyland Hotel, and I think the Mary Blair mural is one of these show elements that could enhance that resort and allow it to embrace its datedness.

Anonymous said...

Innovations would do well turned into the Disneyland museum. There are plently of Disney afficiados who would love to see a rotating set of exhibits detailing long gone attractions, artwork, models, etc.

Anonymous said...

I think the Mary Blair murals should be unearthed, dusted off, reassembled if need be, and put out for all to see! Either placing them near "It's a Small World" or in teh Disneyland Hotel would work. Show them! She was a marvel!!!

Anonymous said...

I just learned that some of the pieces of at least one of Blair's murals can be found at the Bella Notte restaurant in Disneyland Paris!!

Anonymous said...

Indeed.

The Star Tours Mural has been destroyed and some tiles had been used to cover the "Pizzeria Bella Notte" terrace's floor.

Tom Morris didn't want it to be completely lost... but it's unrecognizable !