By Liliana Piña, Huntington News Correspondent
A woman with doe eyes and full, yellow lips. A man with gray hair and a chiseled jawline. A woman with a small waist and slender features. A figure with a dress that defies gravity, suspended in air. These innovative mannequins are a part of a new exhibit called “Ralph Pucci: The Art of the Mannequin,” currently on display at Gallery 360 in the Curry Student Center.
Curated by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and first debuted in 2015, these mannequins personify Pucci’s impressions of the fashion industry over the last 30 years. They have been sold commercially across the globe.
“I have always believed that you need to do something different—you have to go your own way,” Pucci said in an interview with Northeastern Magazine.
These mannequins, however, do not only serve as a means to make money, according to the artist. Pucci’s art celebrates the human body in ways that he believes the fashion industry has ignored, essentially turning these mundane objects from shallow impressions of beauty into unconventional forms of sculpture.
“Before he started, mannequins were very plain vanilla,” Professor Jonathan Kaufman, director of the School of Journalism, said. “It was just a mannequin with a suit or a dress on it, but he actually got very involved in showing women who were athletic and women who were in very dynamic poses and then getting more and more artistic as time went on.”
On Tuesday, the university hosted a symposium where scholars discussed Pucci’s impact on both the fashion and artistic worlds. Pucci attended and was interviewed by Kaufman.
“He could talk as a businessman but he could also talk as someone who supports artists and knows a lot about fashion,” Kaufman said. “It was a great combination of business savvy and artistic savvy in the same brand.”
Connor Lentz, a third-year philosophy, politics and economics major who said he “protects the art” at Gallery 360, explained that aside from the people who view the exhibit in passing, many stop by to closely examine the mannequins.
“Journalism and art majors come in mostly, usually during class,” Lentz said. “I find it interesting that they decided to put human faces and clothing on things that don’t resemble humans.”
This exhibit is just one of many that are a part of the College of Arts, Media and Design’s public art initiative, which strives to bring students together through creativity.
“The art on campus amazes me,” said Kalah Karoff, a freshman music industry major. “It’s almost like a scavenger hunt to find them all.”
“Ralph Pucci: The Art of the Mannequin” will be on display at Gallery 360 through Oct. 23.
Photos by Jerry Yu