Untouchables: The Doll Collection

Untouchables: The Doll Collection  1997
A Portrait of the American Upper Caste

The Doll Collection imitates the upper class/caste and becomes its own mini society. Fabricated in ceramic from two molds, a Barbie and a Ken, each doll is reshaped to become specific characters, real and representative.

“Trophy Wives” have been in existence since patriarchal domination became the system of organization and control throughout most of the world. As the first slaves who produced children and goods the men who owned them began to accumulate wealth. With this wealth came class and after class came caste. Wealth became more than something mechanical, it transcended itself and was deified. It can decide whether you live or die, define quality and beauty, bestow intelligence on the unintelligent, give illusions sexual power and great virtue. The present day “Trophy Wives” function as objects of beauty, access to class, genealogical markers, definers of taste, place givers at the table of high society.
Awards are given to particular dolls for “Conspicuous Consumption” ,”Vicarious Consumption” and “Conspicuous Leisure” based on Thorstien Veblen’s classic the “Theory of the Leisure Class”. Written over 100 years ago his words still ring true.

“The drama of modern society is in the conflict between the instincts which promote evolutionary adjustment and those which retard such adjustment. Within this context the role of the leisure class is both plain and crucial. The class is the embodiment of all the anti-evolutionary impulses which have survived from past into the present. What are these impulses? One is emulation. Another is domination. And a third is animism. ” Veblen

“The greatest triumph of America is to hide the obvious; The class system” Gray Brechin
“She is living proof that you can be too thin and too rich” Anonymous

The Luggage Store 1997 NEA Regional Initiative