ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Created by Illusion Projects and Mattel, Inc., Barbie®: A Cultural Icon examines the Barbie brand’s 60+ year history and the doll’s global impact on pop culture. Across six distinct sections, visitors experience more than 250 vintage dolls—including the original Barbie—from the collections of private collector David Porcello and Mattel, life-size fashion designs, exclusive interviews, and narrative sections that consider the style trends, careers, and identities that Barbie has embodied and popularized over the decades.
The major exhibition begins with the Barbie origin story and presents all 22 original ensemble outfits, while subsequent areas consider the influence of the Space Age; the creation of Christie, the first Black doll; the arrival of Ken; and the creation of the Barbie Dreamhouse™. Barbie also appears in the iconic fashions of the 1970s, including Groovy Style, beachwear, and disco-themed designs, while sections on the 1980s and 1990s present a selection of diverse Barbie dolls that represent a range of ethnicities, body types, and careers. The exhibition culminates in the 2000s, spotlighting the continued diversification of characters within the Barbie universe and connecting them to contemporary fashion trends, perspectives, and identities.
In addition to vintage dolls, historical objects, and life-size fashion designs, Barbie®: A Cultural Icon features video interviews with Barbie designers on five custom-made Barbie Dreamhouse TVs and five unique photo opportunities, including a life-size Barbie Mirror-Pink Corvette with which guests can interact.
The exhibition is complemented by original PhxArt exhibition The Power of Pink, which is drawn exclusively from the Museum’s expansive fashion-design collection. The Power of Pink explores the history, science, and associations of the color synonymous with the iconic Barbie brand.
Images courtesy of Illusion Projects, Inc. and Mattel Inc. ©2024 Mattel Inc. All rights reserved. Installation views of Barbie®: A Cultural Icon, 2024. Phoenix Art Museum.