THE LIFE AND DEATH OF
AMERICA'S PLASTIC PRINCESS

painting, photography and 3-d work inspired by

barbie_logo_sm.jpg




How do you perceive this ubiquitous American icon? Pert and chipper? A goodie-goodie that can do no wrong? A hardworking, successful, standard of beauty that every person should strive to achieve, or die trying? All the evil in the world wrapped up in an 11" purchasable demon? Either or, the artist Crudo sets upon the table situations that may alter the way we think about, and talk to, "America's Plastic Princess".

Bold and colorful (think pink), the very existence of Barbie is thoroughly explored in Crudo's latest series- A unique, controversial multi-disciplinary group, featuring paintings, photographs, and 3-d works. Crudo strives to bypass obvious parodies and dive deep into the psychological innuendo of this ever-present symbol of pop culture- from her highly suspect beginnings as a German adult 'sex toy' to her reign as the most successful plaything ever created (every 3 seconds, of every day, a Barbie doll is sold worldwide).

"We may be appalled by what she stands for, upset that we'll never reach her level of achievement or we daydream about being her- it's either love, love, love her, or loathe, loathe, loathe. There seems there is no middle ground." muses the artist, "Just think, she's been a model, a doctor, an astronaut and has a body that just won't quit- she owns a townhouse, a horse and a dune buggy AND she has a steady boyfriend. It doesn't seem humanly possible. So either you hate her for having it all, or you want the same." But this series is neither a Barbie bashing nor a love letter, more an intimate study of Barbie, the woman, her friends, their interactions  ...and our relationship with them.

In a concept using multiple photographs displayed in vertical composition, Crudo creates 'film-clips'Virtual Screen Test #1 Barbie, transforms the original issue of the doll into a charismatic young starlet teetering on the verge of silver screen stardom. With the surreal sculpture Bleeding Heart Barbie he uses an actual, extremely bizarre release from Mattel, made more intriguing when pushed over the edge with the addition of pink beads, pink tassels and pink blood. Mummified Barbie, is a concept explored in both the mediums of painting and soft sculpture, the 'Teenage Fashion Model' is sent to her eternal resting place wrapped in designer bandages (think Alaïa) and surrounded by hieroglyphics that portray her earthly, if somewhat superficial, existence.

Ken is brought under the artistic microscope through two thought-provoking pieces, Evolution of Ken I & II. These photo essays guide you along visual time-lines of Barbie's beau's physical transformation throughout his (shelf)life. What at first glance may be perceived as simple head and torso shots of vinyl man-candy belie a strong commentary of society and our demanding, ever-changing ideals of beauty, illustrated through the face and body of the notorious Mr. Afraid-of-Commitment.

Crudo contends he didn't consciously choose Barbie as a muse, she crept in on her own accord. "Just as she has entered into everyone's psyche- some women want to be her; a lot of men want to do her. But love or hate, no one is indifferent- everybody knows who she is and they all have an opinion."



- Ray Noble III, Eyeball Magazine, November 2004





Work from this series has been featured in two museum shows:
July 2006 at The Burt Chernow Galleries, Housatonic Museum of Art, Bridgeport, Conn and December 2005 at The Galleries at Monserrat, Beverly, MA. They are also included in the Dove Foundation's Self-Esteem Fund, part of the BodyTalk Workshop, a worldwide campaign to educate teenagers on the urgent subject of body image issues.