Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
Leave it to Mattel, the maker of the Barbie doll, to fulfill Andy Warhol’s famous wish to be plastic.
According to InStyle, the children’s toy company has collaborated with the Andy Warhol Foundation to produce a Barbie doll that has all of Andy’s signature traits, from the white wig and sunglasses to the leather jacket and black-and-white striped shirt. It’s Warhol as we know him — with the addition of impossibly long legs, a teeny tiny waist, a disproportionately large bust, and thick, permanent eyeliner.
Warhol was actually fascinated by Barbies. He painted one the year before he died, “Barbie, Portrait of BillyBoy*” (1986), which was inspired by a young jewelry designer and muse who owned tens of thousands of Barbies. He also painted figurative ones — women like Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy who are still widely known for their physical images, outfits, and accessories.
So, what does it mean that Warhol has taken the form of a plastic doll that’s hollow through and through? It’s tempting to philosophize about the deeper connection between a toy that’s come to represent superficiality and an artist who claimed to be a “deeply superficial” person (despite the complex biographies his life has inspired).
But it’s best not to think too hard about it. The doll (and the “lifestyle collection” that goes along with it) is just the latest in a string of consumer items — from graphic tees to designer purses — that capitalize on the selling power of Warhol’s iconic likeness and art … or, as Ron Robinson, whose stores in Malibu and Los Angeles are the sole brick-and-mortar-carriers of the Warhol Barbie, told Women’s Wear Daily, it’s perfect for “the hip, cool person who just wants something really unique.” Just in time for Christmas.
The autumn holiday of Sukkot continues to offer solace and community for new generations.
Equity should be discussed in the form of European and American institutions partnering with the Benin government to create sustainable museums.
This exhibition in Great Falls, Montana addresses the concept of intention in contemporary fiber art and its complex relationship with the history of women’s art as craft.
Yamasaki’s most well-known projects — the twin towers and the Pruit-Igoe housing project — were both destroyed on national television.
An exquisitely illustrated and enlightening new book reveals the screen’s unique role in Japanese history and culture from its origins to the 20th century.
Explore new avenues in artistic practice and scholarship amongst a diverse cohort of peers while gaining leadership skills both academically and professionally.
Find the perfect gifts for friends and family.
There is nothing extraordinary about Murphy’s subjects and yet there is something inexplicably disturbing about her paintings and drawings.
In this exhibition, curated by Patrick Flores and presented by Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Paiwan artist Sakuliu reflects on interspecies co-sharing and coexistence.
Participatory photography aims to counter the pitfalls of photography as an exploitative or voyeuristic medium.
This week, a Frank Stella is installed as a public artwork in NYC, the women behind some iconic buildings, looting Cambodia, fighting anti-boycott laws, and more.
An Original Copy of US Constitution Sells for $43.2 Million, Becoming Most Expensive Document Ever Sold
MoMA board member Ken Griffin went well over asking for the document, beating out cryptocurrency enthusiasts who crowdfunded to purchase it.