April 27, 2007

Say Hello To Mike Kelley's Little Friend

Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites, 1991-9, via

LA-based artist Mike Kelley has been selling plush toys for a long time. The only problem, at least from a kidsplay standpoint, is that he uses them as elements in his sculptures and installations. Even if you could break out one of the, oh, 2000 +/- stuffed animals Kelley used to make the room-sized piece above [title: Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites] for the kid to play with, the $2.7 million sale price works out to about $14,000 apiece.


In a gesture of magnanimous, child-loving populism, Kelley just released a snuggly plush toy monster named, Little Friend which, at a mere $170, represents an incredible 99.8% discount to DCMw/S, at least on a per toy basis.

Produced in a first run edition of 800 by the Australian toy designers Perks And Mini and Japanese toyco Medicom, Little Friend stands almost 19 inches tall, and when you squeeze him, he talks to you. How adorable.

And yet, there are a few hints that Little Friend is not quite ready for playing prime time. For one thing, his plastic googly eyes are classic choke hazards, so that rules out the 0-24mos demographic, at least. And for someone as edgy as the Kid Robot folks to consider his twenty sayings "pretty creepy," they must be weirder than the three I can find online: "I watch you." "Hurt me, I don't mind!" and "Do you really love me?"

Then again, kids are gonna say things that freak you out no matter what. Our kid picked up, "If you need credit counselling, call the number on your screen" from watching freakin' PBS Sprout. Little Friend's twisted emo utterances may be no big deal.

Little Friend plush toy by Mike Kelley is at OogaBooga for $170, or Kid Robot for $175 [oogaboogastore.com, kidrobot.com via toysblog.it]

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