Opinion

5 Art-inspired Barbie Dolls We Want to See

The special "Museum Collection" Barbie's with the paintings that inspired them, left to right, Gustav Klimt's "Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer I" (1907), Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" (1889) and Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" (1503-19).

You may have heard that Mattel has launched its new Museum Collection of Barbie dolls. Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (1889), Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” (1503-19) and Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer I” (1907), these dolls, which are part of a brand cherished by children the world over, aren’t exactly exciting … yawn.

What if Mattel was a little more adventurous? Sure, some artists are making jewelry with the doll but we were thinking a little more interesting.

Well, here are some of our suggestions:

Hey, Barbie! Want to attract the edgy feminist demographic? Those tween riot grrls that are so crucial to your business? How about Carolee Schneemann? Yes, the artist we wrote about last week, the one known for pulling a scroll from her vagina. Just imagine your child’s surprise when his or her doll is able to “pull a bunny out of her hat.”

Hans Bellmer, "The Doll" (1935-37) (via MoMA.org)

Our next choice … Marina Abramović. Yes, the grand dame of contemporary performance art would be perfectly divine as the inspiration for a plastic doll. Just imagine your child’s glee at watching the Serbian wannabe doll as it sits for hours and refuses to interact with other dolls — who will obviously have to queue to play with her. And this is all in the name of art. The.Doll.Is.Present.

Another good choice would be Paul McCarthy. If gross and a tad demented is what you’re looking for in the form of intellectual stimulation for your child, then this is it. It will give your child lots to talk about during family therapy. Therapist not included though buttplug is.

How about a Hans Bellmer Barbie? Sure, the doll’s limbs will arrive detached and there may be a few extra … and maybe no head … but your child should learn to accept people who don’t look like them. Buy one you bigot!

Ok, we just want a trippy and cool Barbie. Something that will induce the same reaction in kids as Pokemon — well, not all the episodes — so how about a Fred Tomaselli or Kenny Scharf Barbie? Barbie comes with a secret compartment to hold all your “secrets.”

Btw, ever wonder about the fair use defense for critiquing Barbie? Someone has taken the time to list a whole bunch of them for you.

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