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Barbie: Art's new muse?


Banned in Iran, called out for her impossible proportions and at the centre of a Facebook campaign... it's fair to say that Barbie courts more controversy than your average plastic doll.

One French artist however, is encouraging us to look at Barbie in a different light, with her latest collection of artworks. In 'Barbie, Ma Muse', Jocelyne Grivaud takes the famous doll and re-imagines her as some of the most iconic female muses in history, appearing in famous artworks like Warhol’s Marilyn, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, and even popping up as the statue of Liberty, Coco Chanel and Neytiri from Avatar.

This isn't the first time Barbie has been given a new look - we already mentioned the Bald Barbie facebook campaign, and numerous celebrities have been given the Barbie treatment in recent years, but Jocelyn's works are the first to bring the doll into the art world.

Scroll down to see Barbie in art...

ABOVE: Barbie as the Mona Lisa

BELOW: Barbie as the Girl with a Pearl earring (compared to Scarlett Johansson's portrayal)

RIGHT: Barbie in Otto Dix

LEFT: Barbie in Man Ray

RIGHT: Barbie in Andy Warhol

LEFT: Barbie in Pablo Picasso

RIGHT: Barbie in Magritte

LEFT: Barbie in Helmut Newton

So why did Jocelyne create an artistic ode to the doll? She says of the works, "It's a 'personal' birthday gift for my favorite doll, super-imposed on the vision of artists whose work I particularly like. Barbie is often criticized as too blonde, too superficial, too skinny, too "great marketing", too this, too that. It is because her profile is so famous and defined, that I wanted to mix it up with other iconic images."

What do you think of Barbie as an art muse? Do the works ask us to think about new and different kinds of female beauty, or do they just show Barbie as another idealized figure - the artist's muse? One thing's for sure - our childhood would have been much richer with a doll that taught us art history, rather than living in a 'Dream House' with Ken.



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