Proving that the line separating art and commerce has eroded to an absurd point, Mickey Mouse is now taking cues from Ian Curtis. Or rather, Disney is taking cues from Peter Saville, the graphic design icon who created Joy Division’s classic “waveform” cover for 1979’s Unknown Pleasures. As more informed fans may know, the cover actually references CP 1919 – the first-known radio pulsar captured in space in 1967. Saville’s abstract design, which represented a new touchstone for postmodern ideals at the time, has become ubiquitous over the decades. Enough so to enter the Disney kingdom.
Priced at $24.95, the “Waves Mickey Mouse” tee fuses Saville’s design with Mickey’s silhouette. Why? “Because few stars have made bigger waves!” Thankfully, Disney kept the t-shirt’s design clean and logo-free.
Unlike other recent eyecatching t-shirt scandals and developments, Disney seemingly isn’t violating anyone’s copyright here, though whether old-school post-punk fans find this gesture charming remains to be seen. Perhaps Saville will be inspired to create a whole new branch of Disney-meets-Factory Records products based on this merging of ideas. What’s next – Disney World mouse-ear posters that say “Use Hearing Protection”?