Andy Warhol was a pioneer in bringing the commercial image to the world of fine art, and now it’s always fun and fascinating to see how ubiquitous pop culture images, such as the department store mannequin, come into being through a fine art process.
Ralph Pucci: The Art of the Mannequin is the first museum exhibition to explore the work of renowned New York-based designer Ralph Pucci, who is widely regarded for his innovative approach to the familiar form of the mannequin. Having collaborated with luminaries such as Diane von Furstenberg, Patrick Naggar, Andrée Putman, Kenny Scharf, Anna Sui, Isabel and Ruben Toledo and Christy Turlington, Pucci’s mannequins not only expand the parameters of this ubiquitous sculptural form, but reflect major cultural trends of the past three decades.
As Pucci was building his business in the 1970s, the notion of the Super Model — the living mannequin with a personality — emerged. Pucci captured this catalytic moment in his work, finding inspiration from sources as varied as Greek and Roman statues and the performance costumes of the New York Dolls.
Pucci personified the previously anonymous form in new and challenging ways, creating visions of physical beauty that were more specific, empowered, and diverse than the fashion industry had previously allowed. More than commercial armatures or sculptural forms, his mannequins became agents of change in our attitudes to the body, to fashion, and to individual identity.
In addition to over 30 of Pucci’s most important mannequins The Art of the Mannequin, features an in-gallery recreation of his sculpture studio, and short films you can watch in the gallery that reveal the step-by-step process on mannequin making, which is extremely enlightening. Pucci’s master sculptor and longtime collaborator, Michael Evert, will be in residence during the exhibition’s run to give visitors a first-hand look at the creative process, from initial modeling in clay to the rendering of the fiberglass end-product.
Ralph Pucci: The Art of the Mannequin will be on Exhibit Through October 25th, 2015 at the Museum of Arts and Design, Located at 2 Columbus Circle in NYC. Visit This Link for more information.