BKPC - A Brief History

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Posted by G.H. Hovagimyan on November 04, 1997 at 12:02:10:

BKPC - a brief history

BKPC (Barbie & Ken Politically Correct) is a sequence of vignettes using dolls to reproduce the act of play within a child’s world. The piece was first presented on The Thing bbs in fall 1994, one gif a week for 14 weeks. Thing members were invited to download each image and collect the whole set. This was before the World Wide Web and before The Thing website. One day I walked into TZ’Art a gallery in Soho, the director Thomas Zollner confided in me that he had downloaded BKPC and was using it as a screen saver on his computer. I found this fact quite interesting, it indicated a new way to distribute art. The work’s theme is anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-fascism and in the spirit of Situational Art intended to challenge corporate hegemony.
When the web came along I put BKPC up along with *Fire truck for Senator Exon* in a larger work called, Art Direct/ Sex, Violence & Politics I have traveled to various universities around the world and presented this work via the web. BKPC has a particular resonance among students and is invariably well received. The page which Mattel objects to (as well as Henry Barber) was featured in an article about art on the web by Robert Atkins in the December 1995 issue of Art in America. A physical object (drawing table with glassine portfolio sleeves) was shown in an artists toy show in December 1994 that was reviewed by William Zimmer in the Sunday New York Times January 1st, 1995. This work has no particular form. It is physical objects (dolls set up in vignettes), photographs, digital prints and web works. I considered this work to be totally appropriate for our global information environment. Indeed it functions as a permutating info meme. Whether or not Mattel succeeds in forcing me and other artists to stop using Barbie Dolls on the web makes little difference. I will continue to exhibit this work in a variety of forms.

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