Art as armor
July 27, 2014 4:51 PM   Subscribe

Linda Stein's wearable sculptural avatars
Linda Stein wants people to armor themselves in her art. She creates full-length wearable sculptures embedded with all manner of found objects, including driftwood, engraving plates, steel wire, zippers, pebbles and comic book imagery of superheroes.
Her idea grew out of her sense of vulnerability after the Sept. 11 attacks, with the aim of giving wearers a sense of empowerment and protection. Her targets are any form of institutionalized oppression, such as sexism, racism and homophobia.

She also designs "bullyproof vests," made from a patchwork of fabrics featuring such female symbols as the Japanese anime character Princess Mononoke and the comic book hero Wonder Woman, along with words "I will ... not let cultural impediments and sexual stereotypes hold me down."
The exhibition is on a 2010-2017 tour of 24 museums and universities around the US. 
posted by Lexica (4 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Stein explained that she features Wonder Woman prominently in the works because "she never killed."

I've got bad news for her...
Superman is horrified on that page because Superman would never kill anyone.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:12 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I went to a luncheon/benefit thing in Gramercy Park once a few years ago for a women's art group at which Stein gave a presentation about these, and, I found the presentation really irksome. I mean, the point of the presentation was much as stated above, about using art to combat sexism. But every example of pop culture she used to show the premise was completely distorted -- as an example of a woman's opinion being devalued next to a man's, she showed a clip from the 30 Rock episode where John Hamm & Tina Fey are playing tennis, and Hamm's character is an abysmal player yet gets asked by someone in the next court if he can give her lessons. But the point of that episode was about how beautiful people get preferential treatment in the world, and it was Hamm's gorgeousness that was getting valued over Fey's, just as elsewhere in the episode Jane Krakowski does. And with Wonder Woman, she showed a clip of Lynda Carter and went off on how bimbified she was compared to the original comics, and it was just maddening to listen to, because it was like she was either completely ignorant about the history of the comics, or as with the 30 Rock clip she was just cherry-picking facts to fit her premise.

I'm sorry if this is a thread-shitty thing to post so early in the thread, but, I've never really had a chance to vent about that presentation. It wasn't like an academic presentation or something where there could be a dialogue, or a Q&A afterward, and I was there as a guest of my mother's, so, it was just weird and annoying. Because there's so much real sexism, racism, and homophobia in the world, I just don't understand why she couldn't have tried a little harder to find some better examples to support her argument.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:58 PM on July 27, 2014

... full-length wearable sculptures embedded with all manner of found objects, including driftwood, engraving plates, steel wire, zippers, pebbles and comic book imagery of superheroes.

Her pieces actually look pretty interesting, but that description makes it sound like a wearer would look like some sort of cross between a homeless hoarder and a Katamari.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:20 PM on July 27, 2014

This art seems a lot more about empowerment and the person inside the art than the previously posted glass dresses.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:35 PM on July 27, 2014

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