The Universal Mule T-Shirt is a reproduction of Jack Niven’s Universal Mule, a large-scale work of public art that now resides in the Ogden Museum’s permanent collection. Universal Mule is part of artist Jack Niven’s 2008 project, American Beauty-South, and was displayed on the side of the New Orleans London Lodge Motel on Airline Drive. Airline Drive is part of the final stretch of Highway 61, which connects the Canadian border to New Orleans. This route resonated with Niven as a symbol of his own migration from his home country to the American South.
American Beauty-South utilized the street-side walls of motels to exhibit seven artist-created billboards, addressing three major themes: American Beauty, the South and Highway 61. In its full glory, Universal Mule is an impressive 16 feet tall and 8 feet wide. It will be on view during the Ogden Museum’s upcoming exhibition BIG, opening November 29.