Barbie isn’t exactly known as a feminist icon – unless you count the limited-edition Frida Kahlo dolls that were released on Women’s Day earlier this year (Which were the subject of backlash). But while Barbie is the pinnacle of ideal beauty for young girls everywhere, the Mattel doll is also a source of critical observation from women artists across the globe. Here are five of our most thought-worthy and peculiar takes on the plastic doll, for good or for otherwise.
This artist uses dismembered plastic parts from old dolls – mostly Barbie dolls, but others, too – assembles them like puzzle pieces, or parts of portraits of anonymous people, as well as pop culture icons. This one looks like a bust from the 18th century.
Probably one of the most well-known Barbie doll artists, this Los Angeles-based artist is known for photographing portraits of Barbie dolls with her Plastic series, which taps into the surfaced lifestyle which has overtaken the entertainment and lifestyle industries of L.A., though Dunn also makes sculptures, installations and beyond.
This Australian-based Egyptian artist offers an alternative view on what Barbie might look like through the lens of counterculture or an underground scene. The best ones are Barbie dolls with tattoos and piercings, obviously.
This French artist uses the whole aura surrounding Barbie – from marketing to design – as a point of departure for her work. Probably her most entertaining series is where she copies replicas from art history with Barbie dolls – this Vermeer piece is iconic.
The New York-born jewelry designer Margaux Lange is an artist who takes Barbie dolls and deconstructs their plastic lims to create elaborate jewelry pieces – from bracelets to earrings and necklaces out of them. In fact, all of her pieces are sourced secondhand – from garage sales to thrift stores and online sources like eBay and Amazon. She is said to have thousands of Barbie dolls in her studio, and is part of her own childhood dream, but also others, as each doll has a story to tell.
Photos via Saatchi Art, Sara Zaher, agnautacouture, nypost