For some reason MTV is changing the iconic Moonman statue for this year's Video Music Awards to fit the show's new locale. They're broadcasting live from Brooklyn, y'see, so they brought in KAWS, a Brooklyn-based artist popular with the youngs, to give the old Moonman a makeover.
For the first time in the award show's 29 year history (has it really been that long?) the traditional Moonman statue is being retired for something new, different and, well, dull. Designed by "artist and provocateur" KAWS, the same guy who did the cover art for Kanye West's 808 and Heartbreaks, the new VMA statue looks a lot like the old VMA statue except that it's "gunmetal" gray and has been designed to look like one of the artist's vinyl toys that he normally produces. The X's over the eyes and Michelin Man curves are KAWS hallmarks.
Look, this is a silly way for MTV to drum up interest in the VMAs. No one watched them last year so they're moving the whole show to the Barclay's Center and changing the statue to something new and hip in a desperate attempt to attract young people to watch the show again, to remember a time before they were born, when everyone wanted their MTV. Whoever runs MTV now needs to realize today's 18-year-olds were roughly ten years old when Total Request Live was finally, mercifully cancelled in 2006. They're going to have a hard enough time remembering when MTV even played music videos.
Besides, the old Moonman was a cultural touchstone! It was a monument to that stretch of time when MTV was relevant, a cultural force to be reckoned with, and for many a wistful reminder of what once was. There was a certain generation of us who grew up when music videos were mega-events and MTV was bigger than life itself. Everyone wanted a Moonman and the VMAs were still a thing people cared about. But now 40 to 60 people will get this new dumb thing instead, just because MTV went to Brooklyn to stay young. KAWS killed the video star.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.