Thompson Center’s “Snoopy in a Blender” Statue Moved To Be With Matching Statue “Mickey Run Over By a Steamroller”

ART INSTITUTE —  Ahead of massive renovations to turn the Thompson Center into the GoogleMaxPrison Complex, the abstract outdoor statue that greets visitors to the Center is being rehoused by the Art Institute of Chicago. The statue, Snoopy in a Blender, depicts famous cartoon beagle Snoopy being violently dismembered by an industrial blender. The statue will be reunited with one of its companion pieces, Mickey Run Over by Steamroller.

“It was important to us to make sure Snoopy in a Blender found a good home after Google announced they were going to put it up for sale on Facebook Marketplace,” said Dr. Marcus Quinic, an expert in large-scale sculpture for the Art Institute. “This sculpture is an important piece in the career of Jean Dubuffet, an artist who really, really hated cartoons.”


Born in France at the turn of the century, Dubuffet began his artistic career parallel to the development of animated films, and took an immediate dislike to the characters. One of his earliest paintings was an abstract self portrait titled Me Kicking the Shit Out of Felix The Cat in an Alley.

“He was a fascinating man whose work continued to evolve with culture over the years,” said Dr. Quinic, “I was lucky enough to attend a lecture of his before he passed in ‘80s. He spoke for hours about how he wanted to line up the Wacky Racers and decapitate them one by one with a machete.”

Snoopy in a Blender was unveiled at the Thompson Center in 1984, as part of a series of three large sculptures made by the artist before his death. It’s removal will reunite the piece with one of its companion pieces, Mickey Run Over By Steamroller, which has remained in storage at the Art Institute due to copyright claims by Disney, which called the depiction of the famous mouse “beyond fucked up.” 


The recent copyright expiration of early depictions of Mickey means that these two statues can finally go on display together at their new home at the Art Institute. The third piece in the series, Scooby with Deep Ax Wounds, will remain out of the public eye until that copyright expires in 2059. 

You can truly feel the pain he wants to inflict on these cartoon characters,” said Dr. Quinic, “ I’m reminded of something a colleague of mine said while they were working on a Dubuffet retrospective: ‘Looking at a Dubuffet makes you want to hit a Smurf in the face with a brick.’”

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