This very fun mixed media sculpture– which re-imagines Barbie‘s head and torso engulfed in a pink, donut-like soft puff, while she sports hot pink swim fins on her feet — is part of the Icons series by artist Nicolette Benard. Nicolette is a Netherlands-based visual artist and jewelry designer represented by Chiefs and Spirits Gallery — in whose booth at the Spring Affordable Art Fair we spotted this excellent work ($1250 each). Wouldn’t it be cool if Mattel decided to make a series of Art Barbies and hired Nicolette to design them based on her Icons series? I think so! See more Icons on her website, at This Link!
When I was a little girl creating fun adventures for my Barbie dolls, her career choices probably included Fashion Model, Lifeguard, Stewardess, Ken’s Girlfriend, and that’s about it. Now of course, Barbie can be whatever the fuck she wants to be, even a Robotics Engineer. Yes, I just typed that. Here’s what Mattel’s website has to say about 2018’s Career of The Year Barbie:
Dream big with the Barbie® Robotics Engineer doll! This Barbie® Career of the Year doll comes with a laptop and robot figure to play out all kinds of cool stories. Kids can explore exciting opportunities in the high-tech world and code their own futures!
- Great gadgets include a purple laptop that shows a screenshot of her robotics project — and a silvery robot with arms that move at the shoulder.
- Barbie® has partnered with Tynker, a game-based platform that teaches kids how to code and inspires them to explore STEM ( which stands for science, technology, engineering and math,) opportunities!
- Her versatile workday outfit is designed for success with a trendy graphic t-shirt and denim jacket, accessorized with protective goggles.
I love how they specifically say ‘kids” and not “girls” in order to be gender inclusive. And hey, if this fashion-challenged, nerd Barbie (this one has deep-purple hair, excellent) encourages kids to learn to code, I’m all for it.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Countryside: The Future Exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.
In March of 2019, I attended a fun event-thing called the Barbie 60th Anniversary Pop-Up Experience, which was just insane. Imagine being wedged into a crowded labyrinth of bright lights, neon colors, and every type of Barbie-branded doll in the universe, including Gender-Nonconforming Barbie and Dad-Bod Ken. Now, add little kids with their parents, and millennial Instagram-whores, and you’re got an idea of the scenario that I consider myself lucky to have survived with my sanity intact. Still: super fun!
While I saw literally hundreds of Barbies that day, the one that I will surely never forget is this Pink Mink Stole-draped plastic goddess known as the Andy Warhol Barbie. Here’s why: this Barbie (the third such doll produced in collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation) is the definitive celebration of Warhol, drawing inspiration from the original Warhol Barbie portrait created by the artist in 1986. Barbie’s strapless gown features a sweetheart neckline and an overall print of the Warhol Barbie Portrait (you can see a few details of Barbie’s face on the dress if you look closely at the above photo). Beyond the fabulous Pink faux fur stole with blue lining, the doll’s accessories also include blue pumps accented with glitter inspired by Warhol’s technique of “diamond dust” crushed glass on canvas, earrings, necklace, ring and doll stand. Rad.
Sadly I could not capture details of the glittery shoes, as Andy Warhol Barbie was encased in a vitrine, to protect her from molestation. The statement to the left of Barbie’s face in the above photo reads as follows:
Andy Warhol made his mark by creating images of American icons. Barbie was added to the list when Warhol painted her in 1986. The first Barbie portrait was reportedly inspired by Warhol’s muse, Billy Boy, a jewelry designer and member of new York downtown scene in the 1980s, who owned a vast collection of Barbie dolls.
OK, so what exactly are we looking at here? What initially appears as a fairly standard-issue Virgin Mary desktop statue is revealed, on closer inspection, to be a mash up of the holy mother and a Malibu Barbie (check out the sunglasses propped casually on her head, for your first clue).
The statue, by UK-based artist Heath Kane, is based on a print entitled In Brands We Trust, originally created in June of 2016 in association with Jealous Gallery of London. The idea for the print was to create a mock idol by galvanizing a Malibu Barbie figure with the Virgin Mary.
Says Kane: In Brands We Trust is designed to look on the surface like a classic piece of pop art – juxtaposing Barbie’s face with an image of the Virgin Mary. But the light facade masks a deeper question about consumerism. Whereas Pop Art fetishized consumerism, In Brands We Trust challenges it. In March 2016 two people were shot and seriously injured in America when Nike released a new version of its Air Jordan 2 Retro shoes. In Brands We Trust ponders the question ‘have brands become our new religion?’ And if so are they encouraging division and extremism? Brands have such a profound impact on our daily lives it’s raises the question if religious faith can compete.
Spotted at The Other Art Fair in Brooklyn, NY.
Have you heard the expression, “I want to be Barbie, because the bitch has everything!” It is so true, and one of her prize possessions is a Pink Motor Home which is, in fact, a bit magical. Barbie’s Magical Motor Home is somewhat like a Transformer, in that converts from its van-like original form into both a sporty Jeep (for off-roading activity) and a “luxury home” for glamping! Barbie’s Motor Home has evolved over the years but this one is circa 1990 and currently sells on eBay and similar collectors’ auction sites for hundreds of dollars.
Photographed as part of Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Mind of The Mound: Critical Mass, on View Through October 31st, 2019 at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA.