As the annual Altered Barbie Show hits town, we often find ourselves wondering if any of the work in this rambunctious exhibit will ever capture the nations critics, rising to the level of groundbreaking art. Then we step back and think: Were idiots. This is a show about liberating the iconic doll from mainstream ideals, putting Ken in leather chaps, taking a blowtorch to the Dream House, and otherwise embracing, destroying, embalming, dismembering, or honoring Mattels greatest contribution to the upbringing of girls and more than a few boys. The show, which takes the title Barbie and Kens Out-of-the-Bag Carnival, even has a juror, Maggie Malloy, who takes her job very seriously - messy and unfinished work is a turn off, she writes on the Web site, as well as presentation, presentation, presentation. This years show features more than 40 artists who work in all mediums: paint, video, performance, photography, and, of course, installation. We particularly like Melissa Chows photo of a disheveled Barbie inhaling fumes at a gas pump. Tonights artists reception includes music by Theloni on Wry, a Barbie poetry slam, the performance Homeless Barbie by Bad Unkl Sista, a lineup of films (including Tiffany Shlains The Tribe, Susan Sterns Barbie Nation, and Michel Frasers How to Make an Altered Barbie), and more. It starts at 5 p.m.
Aug. 1-17, 2008