The Politics of Women, Dolls, and Art Explored in New Book ‘Play With Me’

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Grace Banks’ new book Play with Me: Dolls, Women, and Art surveys 43 feminist artists (of both genders, but predominantly women) whose work explores the intersection of gender, politics, and the female form, recast through dolls, mannequins, robots, and other doll-like creations. Pandemonia, the mysterious artist and fashion-world icon — who looks like a living doll — contributes several striking self-portraits shot in New York City. Laurie SimmonsLove Doll series transforms her own home into a life-size dollhouse where fantasy and identity is explored. Also featured is photographer Sheila Pree Bright’s Plastic Bodies series, which looks at “the impact that media and advertising play in defining beauty for girls and women and how Barbie is used in Western culture to encourage one standard of beauty.” See a preview of the doll portraits from Banks’ new book, published by Laurence King on September 18, in our gallery.

PandemoniaNew York TaxiPhoto: Simon CavePublished with permission

PandemoniaBalloon Saloon, New York 2015Photo: Simon CavePublished with permission

Laurie SimmonsMeeting from Love Doll series 2011Courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York © Laurie SimmonsPublished with permission

Laurie SimmonsNude with Dog, Love Doll Series 2011Courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York © Laurie SimmonsPublished with permission

Stacy LeighAverage Americans That Happen to be Sex DollsCourtesy of Stacy Leigh & Castor GalleryPublished with permission

Stacy LeighAverage Americans That Happen to be Sex DollsCourtesy of Stacy Leigh & Castor GalleryPublished with permission

Martine GutierrezReal Dolls Series 2013© Martine Gutierrez, Courtesy of the artist and Ryan Lee, New YorkPublished with permission

Martine GutierrezReal Dolls Series 2013© Martine Gutierrez. Courtesy of the artist and Ryan Lee, New YorkPublished with permission

Elena DorfmanCJ5 from Still Lovers Series 2001Courtesy of the artist and Edwynn Houk Gallery, © Elena DorfmanPublished with permission

Elena DorfmanGinger Brook 4 from Still LoversCourtesy of the artist and Edwyna Houk Gallery, © Elena DorfmanPublished with permission

Sheila Pree BrightPlastic Bodies Series© 2017 courtesy of the artist Sheila Pree BrightPublished with permission

Sheila Pree BrightPlastic Bodies Series© 2017 Courtesy of the Artist Sheila Pree BrightPublished with permission

Anna UddenbergJourney of Self Discovery 2016Courtesy of Anna UddenbergPublished with permission

Anna UddenbergJourney of Self Discovery 2016Courtesy of Anna UddenbergPublished with permission

Published with permission of Laurence King.