This month, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum will present “Beauty and the Blonde: An Exploration of American Art and Popular Culture,” the first museum show to investigate the strategic use of the blonde in contemporary art. The show starts Nov. 16 and runs through Jan. 28, 2008.
Mildred Lane Kemper Art MuseumRoy Lichtenstein,*Crying Girl,* 1963.The blonde has been an iconic and highly influential ideal of feminine beauty in American culture since the mid-20th century. Yet beginning with American Pop Art in the early 1960s, the blonde has also become a touchstone for artistic representation and critical inquiry. In November, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis will present Beauty and the Blonde: An Exploration of American Art and Popular Culture, the first museum show to investigate the strategic use of the blonde in contemporary art. Organized by Catharina Manchanda, Ph.D., curator of the Kemper Art Museum, the exhibition will survey how artists have interpreted the blonde in a wide range of visual media, from prints, painting and sculpture to collage, film, video, photography and interactive web projects. Also featured will be a selection of advertisements, magazines, cartoons, film posters, album covers, Barbie imagery and other materials — mainly from the 1950s and 60s — that have helped to shape popular notions about the blonde.