In Chad Person’s Blow Up, Mayor McCheese is having a bad, bad day

Blow Up, by Chad Person, presented by the nomadic Black Cube gallery at Redline in Five Points. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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A selection of "deflated" inflatable corporate icons took up residence at Red Line Gallery for Chad Person's Blow Up. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
From afar the characters look themselves. Up close is a different story. The 1960s TV star, Underdog, is on the brink of an overdose. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Next to him sits a pile of pills--amphetamines and morphine, perhaps--at Blow Up, presented by the nomadic Black Cube gallery. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Mayor McCheese. He's just dead cow meat at Red Line Gallery in Five Points. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
A very sad Pillsbury Dough Boy may have been poked in the belly one too many times. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Chad Person's Pillsbury Doughboy at Red Line Gallery. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Big Boy's lost his edge at Blow Up, presented by the nomadic Black Cube gallery in Five Points. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Mayor McCheese, Big Boy, a beached whale and the oil-slicked Mobil Pegasus gaze mournfully into space at Blow Up. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

New Mexican artist Chad Person brought Blow Up, his depressive exhibition of pneumatic corporate icons, to Red Line Gallery in Five Points. Denver Startup Week partnered with pop-up gallery Black Cube for a Tuesday showing.

Person’s exhibit featured inflatable, larger-than-life mascots of formerly hegemonic corporations: Big Boy, Mayor McCheese of McDonalds, the Mobil Pegasus, Mr. Monopoly, NBC’s Underdog and Stinky Pete from Toy Story. There is also a beached whale. The experience was intended to be as eerie in its melancholy as it was comical in its familiarity.

And just in-time for Denver Startup Week. The exhibit reflects on Person’s conception of a widespread disillusionment with long-time dominant corporations, through the lens of their hapless icons.

“The Inflatables are a long-running body of work that attempts to illustrate a loss of prowess of select iconic characters at the end of their cultural relevance,” Person said in a statement. “Each reduces the magnanimous idealism of the character to the pathetic form of a cold air inflatable — a form popularized by the used car dealership gorilla.”

Person has been working with inflatable sculptures throughout the past decade. Blow Up is the first to showcase exclusively these works. The exhibit will be on display at Red Line Gallery in Five Points until Oct. 2.

All photos by Kevin J. Beaty.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at or

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