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Mar 31 - Aug 03

Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)
2 Columbus Circle
New York,10019USA
  • Partially finished mannequin head revealing fiberglass structure, 2014. Collection of Ralph Pucci. Photo by Antoine Bootz

  • Ralph Pucci in his gallery, 2014. Collection of Ralph Pucci. Photo by Antoine Bootz

  • Installation view of “Ralph Pucci: The art of the Mannequin” exhibition. Photo by Butcher Walsh. Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design


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“Ralph Pucci: The art of the Mannequin” exhibition at The Museum of Arts and Design, NY

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), NY, pays homage to legendary designer Ralph Pucci, famous for his original mannequins that broke all molds, with a new exhibition that spans his 40-year career. Titled “Ralph Pucci: The art of the Mannequin”, the exhibition features more than 30 of his impressive mannequins that reflect the socio-cultural changes in fashion, art and design over the last decades, as well as an in-gallery recreation of his sculpture studio. Pucci joined his family’s mannequin repair business back in the 70’s and since the very first moment he chose to push the limits of form and color, experimenting with movement and abstraction. Inspired by classic Greek and Roman statues, artists like Brancusi, Giacometti and Henry Moore, as well as by musicians like Philip Glass and The New York Dolls, Pucci captured the zeitgeist of his time, offering a different take on the typical commercial mannequins that until then were rigid, monotonous and motionless.

Ralph Pucci’s first major collaboration was with legendary interior designer Andrée Putman in 1986, designing together a series of metallic, androgynous mannequins, named “Olympian Goddess“, for the opening of a new Barneys store in New York. There followed collaborations with artist Lowell Nesbitt in 1989 for a Michelangelo-inspired sculpture; with illustrator Maira Kalman in 1994 for a reinterpretation of her iconicAdacharacter; and with fashion designer Anna Sui for a series of 1920s-inspired mannequins. Pucci also collaborated closely with designers Ruben and Isabel Toledo for various unique creations, including “Birdland” (1988) that was designed to display handbags and accessories instead of clothes, as well with model Christy Turlington for a series of mannequins in yoga poses for her brandNuala” back in the nineties.

Last, but not least, Pucci also worked with artist Kenny Scharf in 2000, giving birth to “Swirley”, a purlple colored one-eyed figure, and with fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg in 2013 for a series of mannequins for the 40th anniversary of the wrap dress. The majority of these collaborations are on view at the exhibition, for the delight of the viewer. What’s more, Pucci’s master sculptor Michael Evert will be in residence during the exhibition’s duration and will sculpt new busts onsite, offering visitors the chance to experience firsthand the making process behind a Pucci mannequin. The exhibition will be accompanied by a book that includes a foreword by Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Architectural Digest, an essay by art historian Emily M. Orr on the history of mannequins, and an interview with Pucci by Jake Yuzna, Director of Public Programs at MAD.