Peg Harrigan, Instructor in Art, explores the the them of collecting in her piece, “Happy Fiftieth Anniversary Ken Doll,” in commemoration of her brother’s birthday and of his extensive doll collection. Harrigan’s photos of a multitude of doll heads from her brother’s collection, ranging from celebrity dolls to classic Barbies, adorn the collar of a pristine white, crisp paper jacket.
Q: Where did the idea for your piece come from?
A: Over the past few years I’ve been photographing people’s collections. I thought about showing installation shots of these collections in three different venues, and that just really didn’t interest me because I thought it was more than just the stuff of the collection; it was [more about] the collector. I chose to make [my piece] out of paper to suggest the fragility of life, particularly since two of the other collectors have now passed away. I also tried to show something about [my brother’s] personal interest that might say something about him. He is really into theater, so in this case I chose only dolls that were celebrity dolls.
Q: So this is a mixed-media piece between your photography work and sculpture?
A: Yeah, it’s photographic clothing. And they are also very frail, like people, so I meant to suggest the collectors themselves and show some aspect of collecting without showing lots of literal photographs of collections or installations of the collector and the collection.
Q: Which collection is this piece from specifically?
A: It just happened to be the 50th anniversary of the Ken Doll and my brother’s 50th year of living on the planet, so it commemorates my brother and his doll collection. They are a lot like his theatrical work. There is a lot of work about my brother represented in this coat, and I wanted something that was elegant and classy like he is, so I picked a white dinner jacket.
Compiled by Nicole Ng