Guys 'n' Dolls: Art, Science, Fashion and Relationships

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery: 23 April – 12 June 2005

From Egyptian ‘Shabti’ ritual objects to Barbie and beyond, the many forms and functions of dolls across centuries and cultures raise issues about femininity, masculinity and social identity.

Guys ‘n’ Dolls explored how dolls have been used to reinforce and question the roles that men and women play in society. The exhibition included items not usually associated with the concept of the doll: mannequins, anatomical wax models, the ventriloquist dummy and ‘love’ dolls. There were three distinct themes: Fashion, Science and Relationships.

Fashion examined the fashion doll as a cultural artefact from the 19th century to the present. It challenged the idea that a mannequin is simply a figure used to display clothes and showed examples ranging from Man Ray’s photographs to ultra-real modern mannequins. 

Barbie was compared with Bild Lilli – the original Barbie, based on a 1952 cartoon character which was classy, sexy and desirable. 

Dolls within Science included anatomical models from the 18th and 19th centuries, and dolls used for life saving, crash tests and therapeutic diagnostics. Relationships demonstrated how dolls have been used as objects of ritual from the ancient Egyptians to the present day. The concept of creating of the ‘perfect woman’ was also explored. 

Press Coverage
National Press


21 April 2005
"Hello, dolly": Double page spread in G2, with four images. Jess Cartner-Morley writes on history of mannequins, using exhibition as starting point.

The Times

23 April 2005
"Sex, death and dollies": Large feature in Body & Soul supplement, with two images, by John Naish.

Guardian Guide

Highlighted in listings on several occasions

Independent Information

Highlighted in listings on several occasions


Nightwaves (Radio 3)

26 April 2005
Fifteen minute round table discussion with Steve Connor and Paula Sachs on issues raised by exhibition.

Woman’s Hour (Radio 4)

6 May 2005
Judi Herman recording tour round exhibition with Suzie Plumb and Nicola Coleby; followed by ten minute studio discussion on dolls, taking exhibition as starting point. Presented by Jane Little.

International Press 

De Morgen (Belgium)

22 April 2005
Front cover of 'EGO' supplement, with four images; piece continued inside, with one image.

Goniec Polski (Poland)

May 2005
Piece on exhibition by Andrzej Borkowski. Still to be collected.

Regional Press

The Argus

23 April 2005
Exhibition listing, with image.

9 April 2005
"Small world, isn’t it? Meet Barbie’s sister": Full page feature on exhibition, with two images.

This is Brighton

22 April 2005
Exhibition featured in Art Guide, with image.

The Insight

April 2005
Piece on exhibition in Festival pull out, with image. Also listed in Day2Day events planner.


27 April 2005
Suzie Plumb, exhibition curator, interviewed for ‘My City’.

20 April 2005
Feature on exhibition, with three images.

Absolute Brighton

3 April 2005
Piece on exhibition, with image.

West Sussex Gazette

19 May 2005
Large feature on exhibition, with nine images. Phil Hewitt interviews Suzie Plumb.

BBC Radio Southern Counties

22 April 2005
Suzie Plumb, exhibition curator, interviewed as ‘guest of the day’ on breakfast show.

Specialist Press

24 Hour Museum

1 May 2005
Piece on exhibition, with image.

Art Republic

23 April 2005
Piece on exhibition, with four images.

Also appeared in Doll (international magazine) and Diva.

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