7/10/09 3:39 PM
Annie Arnold pretends that her artistic practice is all about fabulousness, stardom, glamorous beauty, and the vanity and plastic (financial and surgical) necessary to attain these goals today. And it is—sort of. If it seems unfathomable to believe that any female artist with a brain today could find any of these to be worthwhile achievements, Arnold offers a convincing artist statement that affects just such an attitude—that is, if you take her words at face value and forget to actually look at the work, and look hard at it. For though Arnold’s collages traffic in all the irresistibly glittery garbage of Vogue magazine, their promotion of plastic surgery, eco-chic and beautiful shallowness rings, well, shallow. As in, Arnold doesn’t really believe it, but what she does believe is that plenty of other people believe it. Meaning, this is important cultural material to pay attention to and critique. Her critiques could be even harsher, frankly; the fashion and beauty industries can handle it. And sometimes she does go all the way, with a biting sense of humor, as in the mock online fund-raising project, “Needed Fabulousness.” Through this venture Arnold managed to raise some two hundred dollars, which she spent on a pair of stilettos-of-the-moment and a Lanvin dress—well, an ink jet print on vinyl of a Lanvin dress, which she wore, with all the fabulousness one could ever hope for.