Raw, adjective: 5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste: raw humor.

You just have to love this. The Sunday Chron featured this local annual Altered Barbie art show. Exhibits include "Barbie on a Three-Headed Pit Bull," "Bearing the Cross," and "Ride 'em, Cowgirl" (see the photos, linked above).

So apparently this exhibition has been showing every summer for six years now, and it's great in all the ways that one would expect: subversive, socially deviant, eclectic, eccentric, sexy, strange. Among the choice quotes from the article about this "three-dimensional blank canvas" whose "blond princess" image is skewered here:

"Barbie is the ultimate cougar."

"She's just a part of Americana....She represents the good and the bad stereotypes of culture, race, materialism, womanhood. In that sense, I find something amusing and gratifying about altering something so solidly representative of old-fashioned values." (contributor Melissa Chow)

"The thing about Barbie that makes me feel sorry for her is that she has no nipples." (contributor LaVonne Sallee, who gives her all to atone for that fact)

I love, love, love this kind of subversive "found art" that uses iconic and usual materials, twists them on their heads a bit, and emerges with what is at once a whimsical and serious statement about a bigger social reality. Satire rocks. And I'd much rather hang out with any of these gutsy artists and their creations than the blond princess types I see out and about any day. So boring!

The Sixth-annual Altered Barbie art show (SF Chron)


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