Barbie at the Millennium? Impossible! A Conference at The New School

Conference Sat 2 Dec 1995 10.00AM-12.00PM The New School
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The single question the speakers focus on is the astonishing survivability of an icon one would have thought murdered by the ravages of feminism, identity politics, the generalized mythoclasm of our time, the triumph of sex and gender Iindifferentiation, etcetera etcetera. Prima facie, iconicity is stronger than our theory would have had us believe.

The (almost laughable) spectacle of grown men and women - scholars and journalists - on a New School stage discoursing Barbie and Ken, and their consanguineous neighbors and progeny, gives way to the most serious discussion of "Icons in America at the Millennium." What makes for an icon? What, for its endurance, its longevity? What global role do American icons have? What is the phenomenology of Barbie? What mental structures do the dolls and their accouterments shape? "Barbie at the Millennium" complements the concurrent show at the World Financial Center: Art, Design, and Barbie: The Evolution of a Cultural Icon (Dec. 1, 1995, through February 10, 1996).

Marshall S. Blonsky, semiologue
Contardo Calligaris, psychoanalyst
Robert Deutsch, ethnographic researcher
M.G. Lord, author of Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll