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

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.