Last summer, gallerist Jennifer Schwartz had an idea to challenge the traditional gallery model, and the result of her brainstorming was The Ten. “The Ten is not meant to replace the traditional gallery model. It is meant to supplement the gallery experience and bridge the gap between looking at art online and engaging in a local art community experience. Galleries need to tap into this energy and build relationships with potential collectors. We need to create an environment that is open, dynamic and fresh. We have to educate, cultivate and draw people in to the unique experience a gallery can offer.”
In addition to The Ten, Jennifer raised funds through Kickstarter to start an on-the-road Crusade for Collecting.
I am honored to be the tenth TEN, and am in the wonderful company of Tami Bone, Jeff Rich, Chloe Aftel, Heidi Lender, Mikael Kennedy, Elizabeth Flemming, Lori Vrba, Laura Griffin, and Rachel Barrett who have come before me. I created all new work for this Ten, challenging myself to rethink children’s play things. The prints are for sale individually, or if the entire collection is purchased, not only do the photographs come in a beautiful box, but you will receive an additional image! These images are exclusive to the Jennifer Schwartz Gallery and can be purchased through the gallery.
Child’s Play: As a photographer, visual anthropologist, and mother, I am very interested in artifacts designed for children that define who we are and who we should be. Armed with an adult perspective, I look at what has been presented to children as simply afternoon activities. These playthings often carry the suggestion of something more, through undertones of facial expression and dress, societal roles, and idealist perspectives.
Paper dolls and Barbie dolls informed my own childhood about fashion, femininity, status, and elegance. Dolls and doll dress changed in my daughter’s generation, bringing less sophistication and more sexuality to the experience, as little girls were emulating Britney Spears, rather than Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. But as these photographs reflect, sexuality was always in the picture, no matter the decade.
By examining paper dolls, especially those from the 1940’s-1970’s, I have discovered the subtext of characterizing ourselves through perfectionist role models and observed a generic sameness to what was and is offered up to our children for self definition. For The Ten, I have created new realities, new pairings, explored the sexual nature of the dolls, and had fun with time worn clichés. Investigating these templates for adulthood has made me acutely aware of how narrow the ideals of family and adulthood were, leaving no room for the celebration of race or alternative choices.